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The full bench of the SC takes up for hearing today reserved seats case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court’s full bench will review the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC)’s petition on Monday, challenging the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) decision that denied it reserved seats for women and minorities. The SIC is allied with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

The 13-member bench, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa, includes all available judges except Justice Musarrat Hilali, who is absent due to a heart ailment.

Previously, on May 6, a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, and including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, suspended the PHC’s decision. The matter was then referred to a larger bench for constitutional interpretation.

The court’s written order emphasized that the allocation of reserved seats in national and provincial assemblies is a fundamental constitutional issue, essential for reflecting the electorate’s voice in parliamentary democracy.

It highlighted that reserved seats should enhance representativeness, fairness, and transparency in the electoral process, ensuring Parliament mirrors the people’s will.

This issue reached the Supreme Court after the PHC rejected SIC’s plea for reserved seats. In April, SIC chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly speaker filed appeals in the apex court against the PHC judgment, seeking 67 women and 11 minority seats for their party and the overturning of the high court’s decision.

After the February 8 general elections, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decided against allocating reserved seats for women and minorities to SIC, citing the party’s failure to submit its candidate list for those seats. The PHC upheld this decision.

However, the Supreme Court later suspended the PHC order, prompting the ECP to suspend the victory notifications of 77 lawmakers elected on reserved seats denied to SIC.

The SIC, led by Hamid Raza, gained prominence when PTI-backed independent candidates, who had won in the February 8 polls, joined it after PTI was deprived of its electoral symbol “bat.”

Despite this, PTI’s attempt to claim the reserved seats was blocked in March when the ECP ruled that SIC was not entitled to these seats due to significant legal defects and failure to submit the mandatory party list.

The ECP not only denied SIC the reserved seats but also redistributed them among other parties.

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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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