Why is the PTI of Pakistan battling for parliamentary reserved seats?

It is the most recent blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the political party of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan. The PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) was not allowed to claim reserved seats in the national and provincial parliament, according to a ruling made on Monday by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). PTI told its candidates to join the right-wing fringe religious party in order to increase their numerical strength in the National Assembly. PTI was unable to run in the most recent elections since their electoral symbol was banned.

 

The five-member electoral board ruled 4-1 on Monday in a 22-page ruling that the SIC had not submitted a party list for reserved candidates by the ECP’s deadline of February 22, which was two weeks after the election on February 8. There are 70 reserved seats in the National Assembly of Pakistan, and these are divided among the political parties according to how well they did in the general elections. In a similar vein, the 149 reserved seats in total among the four provincial assemblies are dispersed equally. Most of the reserved seats have already been assigned; currently, there are about 77 seats that are unoccupied. The PTI has denounced the ECP ruling as an assault on democracy.

 

Following the announcement of the ruling, PTI Senator Ali Zafar and a top party lawyer declared, “This is the last assault on the heart of democracy,” during a speech in the Senate, the assembly’s upper body, on Monday. The ECP’s ruling creates the possibility of a protracted legal dispute because PTI has declared it will appeal the ruling in higher courts. But if the party is unable to reverse it, it would further damage its standing in the lower house of parliament, which might give the ruling coalition a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, which has 336 members.

 

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