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Ruling coalition loses two-thirds majority in NA

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ISLAMABAD: A week after the Supreme Court suspended the Peshawar High Court’s judgement depriving the PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) of reserved seats for women and minorities, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday suspended victory notifications of as many as 77 members of the national and provincial assemblies elected on those seats.

The suspended lawmakers include 44 from PML-N, 15 from PPP, 13 from JUI-F and one each from PML-Q, IPP, PTI-P, MQM-P and ANP.

Resultantly, the ruling coalition has lost two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament for now, with its numerical strength shrinking to 209 from 228. In the House of 336, the magic figure to attain two-thirds majority comes to 224.

The PML-N’s strength in the House has reduced from 121 to 107 while PPP’s from 72 to 67.

The development also raises a question over the fate of senators elected on the basis of votes polled by the suspended legislators.

A senior official of the ECP, when contacted, said the fate of such senators will depend on the final outcome of the case to be taken up by a five-member bench of the apex court. He said it was a case of first impression and an interim relief granted to the SIC has already been implemented.

The development will also cause further delay in the formation of standing committees of the National Assembly and affect the legislative business. Under the rules, the house committees are to be formed within 30 days after the election of the prime minister, which took place over two months ago on March 3.

Those suspended include 22 members of the National Assembly elected on reserved seats for women and minorities. They include 14 from PML-N, five from PPP and three from JUI-F.

As many as 11 members of the National Assembly declared winners against the seats reserved for women from Punjab have been suspended. They include Tamkeen Akhtar Niazi, Saira Afzal Tarar, Huma Akhtar Chughtai, Mah Jabeen Khan Abbasi, Gulnaz Shahzadi, Shumaila Rana, Shazia Farid, Syeda Amina Batool and Rabia Naseem Farooqi (PML-N) and Samina Khalid Ghurki and Natasha Daultana (PPP).

Eight members of the National Assembly elected on reserved seats for women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also among those to have been suspended. They include Sobia Shahid, Ghazala Anjum, Shehla Bano and Shaheen (PML-N), Asma Jehangir and Naima Kanwal (PPP) and Naeema Kishwar and Sadaf Ihsan (JUI-F).

Three members of the National Assembly elected on reserved seats for non-Muslims include Neelum (PML-N), Ramesh Kumar Vankwani (PPP) and James Iqbal (JUI-F).

Membership of 21 lawmakers elected on reserved seats for women in the KP Assembly has also been suspended. They include eight from JUI-F, six from PML-N, five from PPP and one each from PTI-P and ANP. Four members of the provincial assembly elected on reserved seats for minorities are now suspended, including two from JUI-F and one each from PML-N and PPP.

Punjab Assembly’s 24 suspended lawmakers, who had been elected on seats reserved for women, include 21 from PML-N and one each from PPP, IPP and PML-Q. Three suspended members of the provincial assembly occupying reserved seats for non-Muslims include two from PML-N and one from PPP.

Among the three Sindh Assembly members, who have been suspended, include two lawmakers from PPP and one from MQM.