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Reserved seats: CJP says all problems could have been resolved if elections had been held within the party

A full bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed proceedings in the reserved seats case. Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa noted that all these issues could have been avoided if the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had held elections within the party. However, Justice Muneeb noted that the Election Commission’s decision to abolish the bat system had caused a “cascading” series of errors.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa consists of Justices Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Aminuddin Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha Malik, Athar Minallah, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Irfan Saadat Khan and Naeem Akhtar Afghan

Judge Musarrat Hilali was not part of the court due to illness.

The proceedings were streamed live on the Supreme Court’s YouTube channel. The case will now be heard on June 24.

On Monday, SIC’s lawyer presented his arguments. The SC had noted that the people of Pakistan had voted for people nominated by a party and not for individuals.

Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail wondered why the independent candidates, who were elected after a contest on the PTI platform, had not joined the PTI instead of the SIC (Special Independent Candidates) group. He regretted that PTI had created unnecessary hype over the denial of their election symbol ‘bat’, thereby misleading voters as well as the party’s own members.

The judge also questioned whether the candidates, who later became members of the SIC, had submitted a certificate proving their affiliation with their original political party at the time they filed the nomination papers. If they had, how could they now claim to be independent candidates?

Based on Article 66 of the 2017 Election Act, Justice Mandokhail questioned whether the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has the power to declare a candidate independent when a political party had issued a certificate of affiliation.

Additionally, Justice Mandokhail asked senior counsel Faisal Siddiqui, who represented the SIC, to explain whether a candidate could expel himself from a party after filing nomination papers with that party’s platform, and whether the political party itself could expel a candidate after they won the elections. . The judge stated that these questions must be answered.

In response, Mr Siddiqui argued that once the ECP has accepted the SIC as a political parliamentary party, it cannot deny them the reserved seats.

“All these returned candidates were PTI candidates who were forced to disguise themselves as independents due to a series of successive legal mistakes by the ECP,” Justice Akhtar noted.

The case was filed after the ECP ruled that the SUnni Ittehad council could not get the reserved seats and instead distributed them to other parties.

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