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Supreme Court to Announce Verdict on PTI-Backed SIC Reserved Seats Case Tomorrow

The Supreme Court is set to announce its verdict tomorrow (Friday) on a case involving the denial of reserved seats to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). This information was revealed in a cause list issued on Thursday.

The verdict follows a series of consultations by the apex court’s full bench, which met for the second consecutive day on Thursday. The 13-member full bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, convened with all judges present.

According to the cause list, a regular bench of three SC judges, led by CJP Isa, will announce a brief ruling at 9 AM on Friday (July 12). The SIC is challenging a decision by the Peshawar High Court (PHC), which upheld the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) refusal to allocate reserved seats to PTI-backed lawmakers.

The Supreme Court reserved its verdict on Tuesday after holding nine hearings, during which all involved parties, including the federal government and the ECP, presented their arguments.

The full bench includes Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Muneeb Akhtar, Justice Yahya Afridi, Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Syed Hassan Azhar Rizvi, Justice Ayesha Malik, Justice Shahid Waheed, Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, and Justice Naeem Akhtar Afghan.

Background on the Reserved Seats Case

The issue of reserved seats arose after over 80 PTI-backed independent candidates won the February 8 elections and joined the SIC to claim seats reserved for minorities and women. However, the ECP denied these seats, citing the party’s failure to submit its list of candidates.

The SIC then approached the PHC, which upheld the ECP’s decision. In response, the SIC appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the PHC verdict and allocate 67 women and 11 minority seats in the assemblies.

The allocation of reserved seats is significant because it affects the majority on the opposition benches. Due to the PHC’s decision, the PTI-backed candidates lost 77 reserved seats in the National Assembly (NA) and provincial assemblies.

The PHC verdict allowed the ruling coalition, comprising the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and others, to secure a two-thirds majority in the NA. This increased the PML-N’s seats to 123 and the PPP’s to 73, while the PTI-backed SIC held 82 seats.

On June 6, a three-member SC bench, including Justice Mansoor, Justice Minallah, and Justice Mazhar, took up the SIC’s plea and suspended the PHC verdict and the ECP’s decision. This suspension caused the coalition to lose its two-thirds majority in the lower house.

The SIC’s plea is opposed by both the federal government and the ECP. The government, represented by Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Mansoor Usman Awan, argued that reserved seats should be allocated only to parties that contested the polls, won at least one seat, and submitted a candidate list as per the law. The ECP’s argument was similar, stating that the SIC was ineligible for reserved seats due to its failure to submit the list by the January 24 deadline.

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