HomeBusinessPeshawar High Court dismisses Sunni Ittehad Council's plea for reserved seats

Peshawar High Court dismisses Sunni Ittehad Council’s plea for reserved seats

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The Peshawar High Court has rejected the plea filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council seeking reserved seats for women and minorities.

A larger bench of the High Court heard the petitions filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council regarding reserved seats for women and minorities. Barrister Ali Zafar, representing the council, argued that their candidates contested the elections as independents and were successful in securing a considerable number of seats across various assemblies.

Zafar highlighted that although the Sunni Ittehad Council did not win any seats directly, they received significant support from independent candidates who joined their ranks after the elections. He emphasized that the council is entitled to reserved seats based on their electoral performance, particularly in the National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Responding to Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim’s query regarding the significance of contesting elections, Zafar emphasized that a political party, even if it chooses not to contest elections directly, retains its status and rights as a legitimate political entity. He argued that the Sunni Ittehad Council, having its own election symbol, is eligible to contest elections and avail other rights accorded to political parties under Article 17 of the Constitution.

However, Justice Syed Ashad Ali raised concerns regarding the distinction between the Sunni Ittehad Council and other political parties like PTI, emphasizing that while PTI does not have an official election symbol, the council does. He pointed out that reserved seats are typically allocated to parties based on their electoral success, which the council did not achieve.

In response, Zafar contended that the law does not explicitly require a party to win seats in order to be eligible for reserved seats, and stressed that the term “safe” in the law leaves room for interpretation. Nonetheless, the court ultimately ruled against granting reserved seats to the Sunni Ittehad Council, citing their lack of direct electoral success as a determining factor.

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