ISLAMABAD: A decision on whether PTI-backed independents — who are joining the assemblies under the banner of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) — will get reserved seats for women and minorities continues to elude the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

On Friday, even as the commission notified another chunk of returned candidates on reserved seats in the national and provincial legislatures, it appeared that the matter of awarding reserved seats to the SIC-allied PTI bloc had yet to be settled.

In its breakup of women’s seats being awarded to parties in the national and KP assemblies, the ECP has listed all PTI-backed independents as members of the SIC. However, the column where the number of seats allocated to them should be mentioned, reads: “Matter is pending before the commission”.

The ECP has put on hold the notifications on all the 10 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly from KP and 21 out of total 26 reserved seats for women in the KP Assembly, stating that “the decision is “pending before the commission” on the issue of PTI candidates joining the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

Slew of successful candidates notified on reserved seats in national, provincial assemblies; all 3 PML-N men declared successful on capital’s NA seats

The situation is interesting for the KP Assembly where out of the total 115 general seats, as many as 91 had been won by independents, majority of whom were affiliated with PTI. As many as 87 of the independents belon­ging to PTI have already joined SIC, which could not secure a single general seat in the provincial legislature.

If the ECP decides in favour of the PTI, then almost all the reserved seats will go to the SIC. However, political and legal experts believe that if the ECP decides that these seats cannot be given to the independents as they require to join only those parties having representation in the legislatures, then there can be a serious constitutional crisis, as the ECP will be unable to distribute these seats under the existing formula.

According to the ECP, elections have been postponed on two provincial assembly seats from KP — PK-22 Bajaur-IV and PK-91 Kohat-II — whereas the results of four constituencies have been withheld by the ECP due to stay granted by courts. These constituencies are PK-29 Shangla-II, PK-41 Torghar, PK-44 Abbottabad-III and PK-103 North Waziristan-I.

Reserved seats

Following are the women declared winners on reserved seats for NA.

Out of 60 reserved seats for women in NA, the ECP has issued notifications on 38 seats whereas out of 10 reserved seats for non-Muslims, it has issued notifications of seven candidates.

The commission has notified 20 winners out of total 32 National Assembly seats reserved for women from Punjab, all 14 from Sindh, all four from Balochistan.

The ECP has withheld the notifications on all the 12 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly from Punjab, stating that the decision is “pending before the commission” on the issue of PTI candidates joining SIC.

Most of the women elected in NA on PPP and PML-N tickets are old faces.

Interestingly, Marriyum Aurangzeb, whose name is also on the list, has already taken oath as a member of the Punjab Assembly. The ECP has notified the following as elected on the reserved seats for women in the National Assembly:

The four winners from Balochistan include two from PML-N and one each from JUI (F). Decision on all the 10 reserved seats for women from KP is pending. Out of the total seven reserved seats for non-Muslims, seven winners have been notified. They include four from PML-N, two from PPP and one from MQM. The ECP also issued the notification of the winners of 11 reserved seats for women and three seats for non-Muslims in the provincial Assembly of Balochistan.

Punjab Assembly members have already taken oath whereas the Sindh Assembly is going into its first session today (Saturday).

Punjab (20): Tahira Aurangzeb, Shaista Pervaiz, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nuzhat Sadiq, Mussarat Asif Khawaja, Seema Mohiyuddin Jamali, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Romina Khurshid Alam, Wajiha Qamar, Zeb Jaffar, Kiran Imran, Anusha Rehman, Zahra Wadood Fatemi, Asia Naz Tanoli, Saba Sadiq and Farah Naz Akbar of the PML-N; Hina Rabbani Khar of the PPP; Munazza Hassan of the IPP and Farakh Khan of the PML-Q.

Sindh (10): Shazia Marri, Dr Nafisa Shah, Shagufta Jumani, Shahida Rehmani, Syeda Shehla Raza, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, Mussarat, Mahreen Razzaq Bhutto, Shazia Sobia and Naz Baloch of the PPP and Aasia Ishaque Siddiqui, Nikhat Shakeel Khan, Sabheen Ghoury and Rana Ansar of the MQM-P.

Balochistan (4): Izbal Zehri of the PPP, Kiran Haider and Akhtar Bibi of the PML-N and Aliya Kamran of the JUI-F.

Islamabad MNAs notified

In a related development the ECP on Friday notified the victories of all three Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates from Islamabad.

Three PML-N candidates —Anjum Aqeel, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, and Raja Khurram Nawaz — had won from NA-46, NA-47 and NA-48 respectively.

The PTI had earlier moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC), challenging the ECP’s notification but the court disposed of the petition and referred the matter back to the commission.

On Wednesday, the court declared that the victory notifications of the PML-N candidates would remain suspended till the ECP’s decision on the pending cases.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2024

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