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ECP suspends Returning Officer for giving JUI-F reserved seat to an unknown woman: Two Sadafs confusion

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took action by suspending a returning officer (RO) following the controversial allocation of a reserved seat to an ‘unknown’ woman within the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) quota.

The electoral oversight body issued a notification announcing the success of Sadaf Ehsan on a National Assembly reserved seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). However, the JUI-F distanced itself from the legislator purported to be affiliated with the party.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman has called for an investigation into the “inclusion of the name of an unknown woman” in the notification for reserved seats. The JUI-F candidate was Sadaf Yasin, but JUI-F did not recommend her for the reserved seat that caused confusion.

In a letter to the chief election commissioner, the JUI-F leader requested a thorough inquiry to determine whether the inclusion was a mistake or intentional.

Maulana Fazl stated that Miss Sadaf Ihsan was “wrongly notified” as she does not belong to JUI-F, and her name was not on the party’s priority list for reserved seats.

Therefore, he urged the withdrawal of the March 4 notification, asserting that the rightful candidate is Hina Bibi, who was listed as a priority candidate by the party.

In response, the ECP announced that it has initiated an inquiry into the matter and will hold an open hearing on March 26 to address the issue.

The election commission clarified that while Sadaf Yasmin was listed in the JUI-F’s submission for the allocation of reserved women’s seats, the woman who submitted the nomination papers identified herself as Sadaf Ehsan from Lakki Marwat.

The ECP highlighted that the JUI-F mentioned Sadaf Yasmin in their application, who did not submit nomination papers to the commission. Notices have been issued to all parties involved to resolve the controversy.

In a separate decision last week, the ECP opted not to allocate reserved seats in the National Assembly and the four provincial legislatures to the Sunni Ittehad Council because it had not submitted a “priority list” to the commission.

According to an ECP notification, eight seats reserved for women in the NA from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were allocated to parties other than the SIC, with four going to the PML-N and three to the PPP.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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