CJP terms PTI merger with SIC political ‘suicide’

Tuesday, Jun 25, 2024

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa questioned on Monday why the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) committed political “suicide” by merging with the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) when it was already a political party.

The CJP made these remarks during a hearing on the SIC’s petition challenging the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) verdict that deprived the party of seats reserved for women and minorities.

A full-court bench headed by CJP Isa and comprising Justices Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Munib Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Amin-ud-Din Khan, Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Ayesha A Malik, Athar Minallah, Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi, Shahid Waheed, Irfan Saadat Khan and Naeem Akhtar Afghan conducted the hearing.

“Why did the independent candidates leave PTI when it is a political party? Why did you commit suicide by joining another party which goes against your arguments?” asked the CJP. He said had the independent candidates stayed with the PTI, there would have been no problem today.

Following the Monday’s proceedings, the Supreme Court said PTI leader Kanwal Shuzab’s counsel Salman Akram Raja and SIC counsel Faisal Siddiqui have completed their arguments in the case.

CJP Isa directed the counsels of other respondents to keep their arguments concise as the court will not allow more time as the counsels for PPP, ECP and the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) will present their arguments in the next hearing. The top court adjourned the hearing of the case till Tuesday (today).

The PTI-backed independent candidates who emerged victorious in the February 8 elections joined the SIC in a bid to claim seats reserved for minority and women.However, this did not help the party as the election commission did not allocate reserved seats to the SIC, citing its failure to submit its list of candidates. The party then approached the PHC on the issue wherein the court upheld the electoral body’s decision.

In April, SIC chief Sahibzada Hamid Raza, along with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker, moved the apex court seeking annulment of the PHC verdict and the allocation of 67 women and 11 minority seats in the assemblies.

On May 6, a three-member SC bench headed by Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, including Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Athar Minallah, suspended the PHC verdict. It then referred the matter to the judges’ committee for the formation of a larger bench since the matter required constitutional interpretation.

Meanwhile, the ECP had last week submitted its response to the apex court, saying the SIC does not qualify for reserved seats as the political party does not allow non-Muslims to be a part of it.

The ECP told the top court the reserved seats cannot be allotted to the SIC as the party did not submit the list of candidates before the January 24 deadline.On the other hand, the SIC also submitted the additional documents to the apex court, including the ECP’s notification of success for two National Assembly lawmakers-elect, with a plea to bring the said documents on judicial records.