The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday suspended the notifications of 77 returned candidates on reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies till further orders.

The lawmakers include 27 Punjab Assembly lawmakers — belonging to the ruling coalition — suspended last week by Speaker Malik Mohammad Ahmed Khan and barred from joining the house proceedings.

In a notification issued today, the ECP said the decision was made pursuant to the Supreme Court’s May 6 order, wherein it had suspended the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict denying the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seats for women and minorities.

The suspended lawmakers comprise those given additional reserved seats for women and minorities in the National Assembly and all provincial legislatures barring Balochistan.

The MNAs suspended include eight women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11 women from Punjab and three minority candidates.

In the KP Assembly, 21 women and four minority lawmakers were suspended while in the Sindh Assembly, the membership of two female and a male member on minority seat was revoked till further orders.

Those suspended in the Punjab Assembly — now by the ECP as well — comprise 24 on women’s seats and three on minority seats.

National Assembly

  • 8 women from KP
  • 11 women from Punjab
  • 3 minority

KP Assembly

  • 21 women
  • 4 minority

Punjab Assembly

  • 24 women
  • 3 minority

Sindh Assembly

  • 2 women
  • 1 minority

Legal tussle for reserved seats

The SIC had earlier been joined by PTI-backed independent candidates after they won the Feb 8 elections as their party was deprived of its electoral symbol ‘bat’.

In a 4-1 verdict in March, the ECP had ruled that the SIC was not entitled to claim quota for reserved seats “due to having non curable legal defects and violation of a mandatory provision of submission of party list for reserved seats”.

The commission had also decided to distribute the seats among other parliamentary parties, with the PML-N and the PPP becoming major beneficiaries with 16 and five additional seats while the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl was given four. Later the same month, the PHC had dismissed an SIC plea challenging the ECP decision and denied it reserved seats.

Last month, the SIC filed a petition before the SC — moved by party chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza — seeking to set aside the PHC judgment.

Suspending the PHC and ECP verdicts, the apex court had said the order applied only to the reserved seats distributed over and above the initially allocated reserved seats to the political parties.

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