The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday notified five Punjab Assembly legislators belonging to the PTI on reserved seats — a day after the Lahore High Court (LHC) issued a detailed verdict on a PTI plea asking the electoral watchdog to notify new members.
In May, as many as 25 PTI dissident lawmakers, which included five elected on seats reserved 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.
Subsequently, the PTI had filed a petition in the LHC, requesting it to direct the ECP to notify the five new MPAs and “summon [them] personally”. The court had taken up the plea for hearing on June 2.
The electoral watchdog had stayed the notification until the by-polls on the 20 general seats scheduled for July 17, saying that the general seats of the PA had been reduced.
In its verdict, the LHC had on June 27 directed the ECP to notify members of the PTI on five reserved seats in the provincial assembly.
In the detailed verdict issued a day ago, the LHC also ruled that when a reserved seat becomes vacant after a lawmaker’s disqualification, it shall be filled by the next person in order of precedence from the list of candidates of the political party whose member vacates the seat.
Today, the ECP notified Habkook Rafique Babbo and Samuel Yaqoob on the reserved seats for non-Muslims; and Batool Zain, Saira Raza and Fouzia Abbas Naseem on the seats for women. All five lawmakers belong to the PTI.
The PTI legal team claims that Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz would lose majority in the Punjab Assembly once the ECP notified members on the reserved seats, as ordered by the court. Its lawyers insist that the number of opposition lawmakers would surpass that of the government, and the CM would need to get a vote of confidence from the house.