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PHC extends stay on oath-taking of reserved seats lawmakers

SIC Chairman Hamid Raza moves LHC to claim the party’s right to the reserved seats in National Assembly

A view of the Peshawar High Court. — Geo.tv/File
A view of the Peshawar High Court. — Geo.tv/File
  • Court adjourns hearing of plea till March 13.
  • PHC asks AGP to appear before court in person.
  • PTI lawyer says SIC being deprived of its reserved seats.

PESHAWAR/LAHORE: The Peshawar High Court Thursday extended the stay order on the oath-taking ceremony of lawmakers notified on reserved seats denied to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council till March 13.

The court’s order came during the hearing of the SIC’s petition concerning the allotment of reserved seats.

Adjourning the hearing of the case till the aforementioned date, the court also summoned the Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan to appear before the court on the next hearing.

A day earlier, the PHC barred the oath-taking of lawmakers notified on the aforementioned reserved seats, preventing members from swearing in and directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit its response in the said matter by today.

The directives were issued during today’s hearing conducted by Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Shakeel Ahmad. The court issued a stay order preventing members from swearing in and directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to submit its response in the said matter by Thursday.

The development came as the party had announced to challenge the electoral body’s verdict, issued on Monday, wherein it rejected the SIC’s — whom the PTI-backed independent candidates had joined — plea for allocation of reserved seats.

Today’s hearing of the plea was conducted by a five-member larger bench headed by Justice Ibrahim and comprising Justice Ejaz Anwar, Justice Atiq Shah, Justice Shakeel Ahmed and Justice Arshad Ali.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Additional Attorney General Sanaullah Khan and counsels of other parties in the case also appeared in the court.

During today’s hearing, the court ordered that the AGP appear before the court in person.

“The attorney general has been contacted, he is in the Supreme Court today,” Khan said.

Justice Ibrahim remarked that the court had summoned the AGP.

The AAG, when responding to the court, said the case preparation also requires time.

Meanwhile, Qazi Anwar Advocate said that the new advocate general will be appointed today after which he will appear in the case.

“Here, the question is about the stay order, while the presidential election is being held on March 9,” said another lawyer, Qazi Jawwad.

On the other hand, PTI’s lawyer Babar Awan apprised the court regarding the conduct of the presidential election and that the PTI-backed SIC, which possesses 93 seats in the National Assembly, has not been given its reserved seats yet.

“One member of the assembly in the province has got two reserved seats. The Election Commission has gifted reserved seats to these parties,” Awan lamented during his arguments in the court.

SIC moves LHC for reserved seats

Separately, SIC Chairman Hamid Raza Thursday moved the Lahore High Court (LHC) to claim the party’s right to the reserved seats in the NA.

In the plea, the SIC has included the ECP and others as parties.

According to the petition, the electoral authority is neither a tribunal nor a court. The plea further requested that the SIC must get the reserved seats as per the proportion of seats in the Punjab Assembly.

It does not matter whether the Sunni Ittehad Council contested the election or not, the plea contended, adding that the ECP’s action is tantamount to amending the Constitution.

The petition further stated that the ECP’s decision pertaining to the matter was in excess of its authority.

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