Pakistan's Top Election Body Suspends 77 Lawmakers Elected on Reserved Seats
Pakistan's Top Election Body Suspends 77 Lawmakers Elected on Reserved Seats
Pakistan's Election Commission suspends 77 lawmakers amid legal and political controversy

Pakistan’s top election body on Monday suspended 77 lawmakers who were elected on reserved seats amidst a legal and political row.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was forced to revoke its earlier orders to notify their success after the Supreme Court suspended its ruling in response to a petition by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf: party, which had challenged the allocation of reserve seats.

There are 70 reserve seats for women and minorities in the national assembly and another 156 in the four provincial assemblies. The reserved seats are allocated on the basis of the strength of parties winning the elections. Though all parties got their due share after Feb 8 elections, the PTI was denied its share because it had not contested as a party in the elections and the candidates supported by it had joined Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) after winning the polls.

The claim of SIC on reserved seats was rejected by the ECP as it had not won any seat as a party and all its strength was based on the PTI independent candidates who joined it after winning elections. The legal battle started from the ECP which rejected the PTI and SIC claim and allocated 77 additional seats to the winning parties, which should have gone to the SIC if its claim had been accepted as valid by the ECP.

The ECP on the latest notification issued on Monday said the decision was made pursuant to the Supreme Court’s May 6 order, wherein it had suspended the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict denying the SIC reserved seats for women and minorities. The suspended lawmakers comprise those given additional reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly and all provincial legislatures barring Balochistan.

Those suspended were 22 National Assembly members — 19 women and three minority lawmakers; 25 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly — 21 women and four minority; 27 in Punjab Assembly — 24 women and three minority; and three in Sindh Assembly — two women and one minority. The issue is still pending before the Supreme Court for final adjudication and the fate of 77 suspended lawmakers would be determined by the top court. The ECP decision would not have any immediate impact on the government but the suspension is being considered as a political victory by the PTI.

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