PTI moves LHC against ECP’s dillydallying in notifying new MPAs on reserved seats

LAHORE: The PTI on Saturday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC), seeking directions for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to notify new MPAs on reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly. The reserved seats fell vacant following the ECP’s decision to de-seat dissident lawmakers of the party.

A total of 25 PTI dissident lawmakers, which included five elected on reserved seats for women and minorities, were de-seated for voting for PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz in the Punjab chief minister’s election. They were officially de-notified by the ECP on May 23.

In a petition filed today by lawyer Amir Saeed Rawn, PTI’s Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly Mohammad Sibtain Khan stated that according to Article 104 (5) of the Election Act, 2017, “Where a seat reserved for women or non-Muslims in an Assembly falls vacant as a result of death, resignation or disqualification of a member, it shall be filled in by the next person in order of precedence from the party’s list of candidates submitted to the Commission.”

The petition stated that Khan had submitted the party’s priority list, according to which Batool Janjua, Saira Raza and Fouzia Abbas were next in line for women’s seats while Habkook Gill and Samuel Yaqoob were nominated for minority seats.

However, the respondents — ECP, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and Provincial Election Commission, Punjab — were not notifying them as members, the petition stated.

“The ladies and the minorities members who are on the priority list have again and again contacted the respondents and have submitted their declarations as per the election rules but the respondents are reluctant to get the documents and are not notifying them.”

The petition stated that Khan had also approached the Provincial Election Commission on May 23 and 25 to accept the declarations list and documents and forward it to the chief election commissioner but the “respondent is reluctant and giving deaf ear to the lawful request”.

The petition said the respondents were doing so to “favour the government party in Punjab”.

It requested the court to direct the ECP, CEC and Provincial Election Commission to notify the five new MPAs and “summon [them] personally” to ensure that they implemented Article 106 of the Constitution and Article 104 (5) of the Elections Act, 2017.

The LHC has fixed the petition for hearing on Monday.

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