No reserved seats for parties without electoral symbol: ECP

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PTI seeks alliance with JI to secure its share of reserved seats in National Assembly

Amid political uncertainty continues owing to the February 8 poll results, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday announced that political parties without electoral symbols would not be allotted reserved seats in the National Assembly.

The electoral watchdog’s statement comes as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) sponsored candidates have emerged as the largest group by winning more than 90 National Assembly seats followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with 75 and 54 seats, respectively.

In its statement, the ECP has said that the reserved seats, of which there are a total of 70 dedicated to women and minorities, will be allotted on the basis of the Election Act 2017 and that they will be distributed amongst the political parties in a proportion that is in line with their respective representation in the assemblies if the winning independent candidates fail to join any party.

The development is likely to have significant repercussions for the PTI whose candidates had to contest the polls in an independent capacity after the party lost its “bat” electoral symbol due to irregularities in its intra-party polls.

With no political party being able to secure a simple majority, the field is now open for the PTI, PML-N and the PPP to forge alliances to secure the relevant numbers to form their government in the Centre which requires a minimum of 169 seats in the National Assembly in the 336-member lower house of parliament.

With the PTI not even included in the list of electoral symbols of political parties sent to the Returning Officers (ROs) before the polls, the party is eyeing to forge alliances with other parties to capitalise on its February 8 electoral triumphs by making its candidates join another party — as the independent candidates can neither form their government nor they are eligible for a share of reserved seats.

The party, as per its spokesperson Raoof Hasan, will partner up with the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to secure its share of reserved seats in the NA.

Furthermore, Hasan added that the PTI is looking to join hands with Majlis-e-Wahdat-Muslimeen (MWM) to form its governments in the Centre and Punjab.

The PTI’s decision to join hands with the MWM — which has only secured one National Assembly seat — comes as its sponsored candidates, who have won 116 provincial assembly seats in Punjab, will have 72 hours to join a party once the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) notifies their win.