Lawyers and activists criticize ECP for denying SIC reserved seats, calling it a violation of law

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The decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan to reject a petition filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) regarding the allocation of reserved seats has been criticized by lawyers and activists. In a 4-1 majority verdict, the electoral watchdog ruled that the SIC was not entitled to claim quota for women and minority seats due to legal defects and violation of the mandatory provision of submitting party lists for reserved seats. The council, who had PTI-backed independents join their ranks after the February 8 general elections, had sought reserved seats in the national and provincial assemblies, excluding Balochistan. Experts have condemned the ECP’s decision as being devoid of legal basis, unconstitutional, and a violation of democratic principles. Critics argue that the ECP’s decision to allocate the SIC’s reserved seats to other parties on the grounds of proportional representation is unfair and undermines the constitutional rights of political parties. The decision has been described as a “cruel joke on the nation” and a “gross violation of fundamental rights and democratic principles” by activists and legal experts.

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