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SIC Chief Writes to ECP, Giving Up Reserved Seats in National Assembly

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising turn of events, the chief of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) has seemingly relinquished the reserved seats in the National Assembly without the knowledge of their ally, Imran Khan, and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). A letter purportedly written by the SIC chief to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was revealed during a crucial hearing at the ECP to decide the fate of 23 reserved seats not yet allocated to any political party in the National Assembly.

The PTI formed an alliance with the SIC to secure a significant share of the 70 reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly. However, the ECP, estimating at least 23 seats for SIC, left the final decision to the election commissioners. The remaining 47 seats had already been allotted to other political parties.

Disputes arose as PMLN and PPP claimed that SIC did not qualify for reserved seats as it did not participate as a political party in the general election, and SIC Chief Hamid Raza won as an independent candidate.

ECP

During the hearing, PTI’s lawyer Ali Zafar was surprised to learn from the Chief Election Commissioner that SIC Chief Raza had written a letter to the ECP, dated January 26, stating that the party neither contested the general election nor desired the reserved seats. Zafar expressed unawareness of such a letter, and this revelation impacted his arguments during the hearing.

Zafar contended that the ECP delayed the SIC plea hearing, allowing other political parties to file petitions for the same reserved seats. He also argued against three key points: SIC not contesting as a political party, not submitting a list of candidates for reserved seats, and independently elected candidates not joining within three days of the election. The complex situation adds uncertainty to the allocation of reserved seats, with the PTI still listed as a political party according to the ECP.

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