PHC issues notices to K-P Assembly speaker, deputy over reserved seats oath

In Local
April 03, 2024



PESHAWAR:

The Peshawar High Court (PHC) issued on Wednesday notices to the speaker and deputy speaker of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly during the hearing of a petition seeking contempt charges for not administering the oath to lawmakers on reserved seats.

A two-member bench comprising Justice SM Atiq Shah and Justice Syed Arshad Ali heard the contempt petition. The court also sought a response from the respondents at the next hearing.

During the hearing, the petitioner took the stance that the oath to elected members on reserved seats was not administered despite a court order.

The petitioner added that the speaker and the deputy speaker had violated the court orders and demanded contempt proceedings against them.

Read K-P speaker challenges PHC oath-taking order

On Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stopped the Senate elections in K-P, citing delays in the administration of oaths for reserved seats.

K-P Election Commissioner Shamshad Khan arrived at the assembly premises and requested a list of sworn-in MPAs from the assembly staff. Simultaneously, the opposition lodged a petition with the ECP, urging the postponement of Senate elections in the province.

Despite the stage being set and the election staff prepared, the K-P Senate polls failed to kick off at the promised hour of 9 am.

Subsequently, the ECP issued a notification announcing the postponement of polls, citing its earlier order from March and the upheld decision of the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

The notification highlighted the failure to administer oaths, as required under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, resulting in an incomplete electoral college.

K-P Assembly Speaker Babar Saleem Swati had filed a review petition against the recent directive from the PHC.

The court had instructed him to administer oaths to opposition MPAs elected to reserved seats, setting the stage for a legal battle amid political tensions.

In response to the PHC’s March 27 verdict, Speaker Swati, represented by Advocate Ali Azim Afridi, lodged the petition.

In the review plea, Swati contended that the high court order failed to grasp the factual context regarding the requisitioned session. It highlighted the absence of information regarding the summoning of a session for the upcoming Senate elections or the inclusion of the matter in question as Agenda Item No. 1 of the first business day.

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