Lawyers and activists criticize ECP for denying allocation of SIC reserved seats

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Criticism has been directed at the Election Commission of Pakistan for rejecting a petition from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) regarding the allocation of reserved seats. Lawyers and activists have voiced their concerns over the decision.

In a 4-1 majority decision, the ECP ruled that the SIC was not eligible for quota for women and minority seats due to legal defects and violation of submission requirements for party lists for reserved seats.

After PTI-backed lawmakers joined the SIC following the general elections, the council sought reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies. The ECP reserved its verdict last week and issued it recently.

Barrister Rida Hosain criticized the decision as “entirely unconstitutional” and expressed disappointment that other parties were seeking to claim the SIC’s reserved seats. She argued that the Constitution guarantees reserved seats as a political party’s entitlement and they are not transferable to other parties.

Activist Usama Khilji called the decision a “gross violation of fundamental rights and democratic principles” and criticized the ECP for becoming a joke.

Overall, experts and activists have condemned the decision as undermining democracy and depriving people of their rightful representation.

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