ISLAMABAD: After denying the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) reserved seats for women and minorities, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has now started allocating these seats to other parliamentary parties.

Three minority seats in the National Assembly have been allotted to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), according to notifications released by the ECP. In addition, PML-N and PPP have been given the two Punjabi designated seats for women in the lower house. Three minority seats in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have been given to PML-N, PPP, and JUI-F.

The ECP has also announced the distribution of reserved seats for women in the Sindh Assembly. Sumeta Afzal Syed of the PPP and Fouzia Hameed of the MQM-P have been awarded these seats. Sadhu Mal, also known as Surinder Valasai, of the PPP has been awarded the reserved minority seat in the Sindh Assembly.

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With 123 seats after these allocations, PML-N leads the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) with 82 seats and the PPP with 73 seats to form the largest parliamentary party in the National Assembly.

After the Supreme Court struck down the PTI’s claim to the electoral symbol known as the “bat” and annulled the party’s internal polls, PTI candidates ran in the elections as independents. Political parties are given reserved seats under the Constitution in proportion to the number of lawmakers elected to general seats. Prior to the polls on February 8, the ECP had received priority lists of candidates from the various parties.

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Compared to past elections, this year’s circumstance is different because the majority of members are independents, who are not qualified for reserved seats. In the National Assembly and provincial legislatures, there are 346 seats set out specifically for women. In addition, the National Assembly has ten reserved members for minorities, and provincial assemblies also have reserved seats.

The Sunni Ittehad Council announced in a letter that nine independent members of the Sindh Assembly, 107 independent candidates from the Punjab Assembly, 90 independent candidates from the K-P Assembly, and 86 independent candidates from the National Assembly have now promised their support to the SIC.

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