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ISLAMABAD: Uncertainty continues to surround the reserved seats reallocation issue as the electoral body has yet to map out its future course of action in the light of the Supreme Court’s order to suspend the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC’s) verdict against the allocation of reserved seats to Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the Assemblies.

The poll entity has so far remained officially tight-lipped on the matter.

Unofficially, however, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is said to have reviewed the current scenario that emerged after the SC’s decision, and has mulled the option to issue notifications to suspend the legislative memberships of those lawmakers who were notified as legislators on the reserved seats that were claimed by SIC in the Assemblies.

An ECP official told Business Recorder that the Commission, earlier on Monday, decided that it would take a decision on reserved seats allocation after formally receiving the certified copy of the apex court’s written order.

The matter remained under consideration on Tuesday (yesterday) without any outcome, it is learnt.

In the existing scenario, the status of those lawmakers who have been impacted by the SC’s decision remains unclear—whether these lawmakers would be allowed to attend the upcoming National Assembly session or vote if any bill is moved in the House.

Last month, the SIC became the second largest political party in NA after the electoral body finally accepted it as a registered parliamentary political party.

This implied that 84 candidates, backed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who contested and won the February 8 general elections on SIC tickets, officially became SIC lawmakers. However, the ECP did not reallocate reserved seats—which, if done— would impact on the numerical strengths of the political parties in the Assemblies—depriving the ruling coalition of the strength to carry out the legislation in Parliament that requires constitutional amendment(s).

The ruling coalition has 224 seats in NA, which gives it a two-third majority in 336-seat NA. As many as 21 of the 25 SIC reserved seats were allotted to ruling coalition in a highly controversial decision issued by ECP this March that attracted strong public backlash. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) got 16 of SIC reserved seats and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) got five of those seats.

If these seats are reallocated to SIC, the ruling coalition’s strength would be reduced to 203 seats, depriving it of two-third majority in NA.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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