LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has filed an intra-court appeal (ICA) against a decision of a Lahore High Court single bench wherein the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was directed to notify members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on five reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly.

The single bench allowed a petition of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and ordered the ECP to issue a notification about the new MPAs on the reserved seats following the disqualification of 25 MPAs over defection during the election of Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.

The ICA of the PML-N filed through advocate Mansoor Usman Awan argues that the impugned judgement by the single bench is a violation of articles 106(3)(c) and 224(6) of the Constitution.

It says the reserved seats in the provincial assembly are allotted based on the number of general seats secured by each political party. Therefore, if the general seats have become vacant to such an extent that the overall representation of the political parties on general seats has altered, the reserved seats must correspond to the new proportion of the general seats secured by each party in the by-election.

The appeal argues that once the general seats of a provincial assembly are vacant, the reserved seats cannot be claimed as of right on the prior proportion which was claimed on the number of general seats held prior to the vacation of the general seats.

It says once a fresh election/by-poll for the general seats takes place, only then can the quota of the reserved seats be recalculated and the vacant reserved seats be filled to truly reflect the strength of the political parties through proportional representation.

By ruling that the ECP must notify members of the PTI on reserved seats prior to the by-election, the impugned judgement went against the spirit of the system of proportional representation and violated the Constitution.

The ICA asks the court to set aside the decision passed by the single bench. The appeal would be heard by a division bench.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2022

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