Reserved seats' stay order limited to KP: PHC CJ

Those who took oath didn't commit contempt of court, Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan says

Bureau report
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PHC Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan. — PHC website/File
PHC Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan. — PHC website/File
  • Those who took oath didn't commit contempt of court: PHC CJ.
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  • Five-member bench hearing SIC's petition against ECP's verdict.

PESHAWAR: Amid ongoing controversy surrounding the allocation of reserved seats, Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has said that the stay order is limited to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), The News reported on Sunday.

Speaking to the media following the voting for the presidential elections in the provincial assembly, wherein he fulfilled his responsibilities as the presiding officer, the chief justice clarified that those to were sworn in in the National Assembly (NA) in light of the PHC order "did not commit contempt of court".

His remarks come as the PHC, on Wednesday, had barred the oath-taking of lawmakers notified on the aforementioned reserved seats, preventing members from swearing in after the court was moved by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) against the electoral body's decision over the allocation of reserved seats to other political parties.

The court, whose five-member bench is hearing the case, had then extended its stay order till March 13.

However, despite the court's order, four MNAs elected on reserved seats had taken oath in the lower house amid protest by the opposition benches who were told that neither NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had received the PHC's against oathtaking of members nor the lawmakers who were sworn-in belonged to the KP.

Earlier this week, the ECP rejected the SIC's — whom the PTI-backed independent candidates had joined — plea for allocation of reserved seats.

The electoral body had instead accepted applications of the opposing parties and decided that the seats in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies would not remain vacant and would be allocated by a proportional representation process of political parties on the basis of seats won by political parties.

In its ruling, the ECP stated that the SIC could not claim the share in the reserved seats for the women "due to non-curable procedural and legal defects and violations of mandatory provisions of the Constitution".

The reserved seats were awarded to all political parties as per their strength in the assemblies, except the PTI-backed SIC.