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LHC directs ECP to notify five reserved seats of PTI in Punjab Assembly

Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to notify PTI members on five reserved seats of the Punjab Assembly (PA) that fell vacant after de-seating of 25 of the party’s MPAs over defection.

Justice Shahid Waheed of the LHC passed the order on petitions filed by Zainab Umair and others seeking directives for the ECP to notify five reserved seats of PTI in Punjab Assembly.

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The verdict will have a political impact as the number game could disturb Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in the provincial assembly.

Barrister and Senator Ali Zafar represented the PTI before the LHC bench. Last week, during the proceedings, a law officer who was representing the Punjab government and the counsel of ECP opposed the petitions of PTI leaders and said that these were not maintainable. Punjab advocate general said that the drafting of the petition was not good and therefore the same were not maintainable.

The lawyer of the PML-N pointed out that the party he was representing before the court was not made party in the case.  The ECP counsel said that a similar case was being heard by the Islamabad High Court, and added that the stance of the PTI should also be taken on it.

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The PTI’s counsel said that the ECP was not issuing a notification for the five reserved seats of the PTI in the Punjab Assembly.

“We are being told to wait till July 17 – the day of by-polls on vacant seats of the provincial assembly,” the PTI’s lawyer said, while arguing before the court.

Earlier, the court had issued the notice and had adjourned the hearing till June 27 (Monday).

The war for number game started after 25 members of the PTI voted against the will of their party head and supported PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz. The PTI approached the ECP seeking disqualification of the defectors and asked it to de-seat them. The ECP, later, de-seated the PTI leaders.

However, the PTI following that decision approached the ECP and sought notification for the members on five reserved seats. The commission refused PTI’s plea for notification. On it, the PTI challenged the decision of the ECP before the Lahore High Court (LHC) and asked it to direct the ECP to notify the reserved seats.

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