Imran Khan’s party to move Supreme Court after being denied reserved seats

PHC on Thursday dismissed petitions of the SIC, in a huge blow to Imran Khan's beleaguered Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.

Islamabad: Imran Khan’s party has announced that it would approach the Supreme Court after a top court rejected the Sunni Ittehad Council’s petition challenging the election commission’s decision to allocate reserved seats in the national and provincial legislatures meant for it to other parties.

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Thursday dismissed petitions of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), in a huge blow to jailed former prime minister Khan’s beleaguered Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party.

The bench, which heard arguments for two consecutive days, pronounced a short order on Thursday and rejected the two petitions filed by the SIC which was joined by the PTI lawmakers to claim their share of reserved seats for women and minorities in the national and provincial legislatures after the February 8 elections.

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After the decision, PTI Chairman Gohar Ali Khan told reporters outside the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on Thursday where the 71-year-old PTI founder is jailed. He said that the former ruling party would move the Supreme Court to claim its share of reserved seats, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Gohar urged the top court to constitute a larger bench to hear the case.

The SIC had sought directives from the court for the Election Commission of Pakistan to allocate the reserved seats to it based on their strength in parliament.

It had also challenged Section 104 of the Elections Act which pertains to the mandatory submission of priority lists of candidates by a political party for the reserved seats.

On March 6, the court granted interim relief to the SIC and directed the speaker of the National Asse mbly not to administer an oath to the eight lawmakers elected on reserved seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Keeping in view intricate legal questions in the matter, the PHC chief justice had constituted a special larger bench consisting of five senior judges, including Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim, Justice Ijaz Anwar, Justice Syed Muhammad Attique Shah, Justice Shakeel Ahmad and Justice Syed Arshad Ali.

The ECP last week said the SIC is not entitled to claim quota for reserved seats due to having “non-curable legal defects and violation of a mandatory provision of submission of party list for reserved seats which is the requirement of law”.

There are 70 reserved seats in the National Assembly and 156 in the provincial assemblies that are allotted proportionally to the winning parties in the general elections.

The reserved seats were allocated to all political parties according to their strength in the assemblies except the PTI-backed SIC.

Though more than 90 independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI won the maximum number of seats in the National Assembly, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto struck a post-poll deal and formed a coalition government last week.

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