ISLAMABAD: A notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over reserved seats for women MNAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stoked a fresh controversy on Monday as the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl distanced itself from the legislator purported to belong to the party.

But contrary to claims made by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the JUI-F chief, the name was present on the list submitted to the ECP.

The Maulana called for an investigation into “inclusion of the name of an unknown woman” in the notification for reserved seats.

In a letter to the chief election commissioner, the JUI-F supremo sta-ted: “It is requested that the Commission probe the matter to ascertain whether it occurred by mistake or by deliberation.

Miss Sadaf Ihsan has been “wrongly notified as she does not belong to JUI-F” and her name did not appear on the party’s priority list for reserved seats, Maulana Fazl said.

“Therefore, the notification dated March 4 should be withdrawn as the only rightful candidate is Hina Bibi. “She was on the party’s priority list,” the letter added.

Even though the list submitted by the JUI-F to ECP carried Ms Sadaf’s name, she was at the fourth place while Hina Bibi was at the third slot.

The ECP notification not only ignored the third-placed candidate in favour of the fourth, it also mixed up the name as the JUI list carried the name “Sadaf Yasmeen”, whereas the ECP notified it as Sadaf Ihsan.

Last week, the ECP decided against allocating reserved seats in the National Assembly and the four provincial legislatures to the Sunni Ittehad Council because it had not submitted any “priority list” to the commission.

According to an ECP notification, eight seats reserved for women in NA from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been given to parties other than the SIC. Four of them went to the PML-N and three to the PPP.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2024

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