LAHORE - The Lahore High Court on Thursday issued notice to the federal government, Election Commission of Pakistan and others in a petition challenging legal provision for reserved seats for women in National and Punjab assemblies.

Advocate Tariq Aziz Malik had filed the petition and submitted that there were 188 seats reserved for women in the parliament and provincial assemblies. On these seats women were nominated, not elected, he said, adding it was illegal and unconstitutional, as under article 226 of the Constitution all elections shall be held by secret ballot.

“The Constitution of Pakistan does not validate nomination for women reserved seats. Every year these seats cost the exchequer millions in salaries, perks and privileges for reserved seats,” he contended.

The petitioner further stated these seats could be allocated to technocrats, so the experts from different fields could come in assemblies to play their role in progress of the country.

A Supreme Court full bench, in 18th amendment judgment, had already held these elections on reserves seats as ultra vires of the constitution, he submitted and requested the court to declare the nominations on reserved seats for women unconstitutional.

After hearing initial arguments, Justice Syed Masnoor Ali Shah issued notice to the federal government, ECP and others, seeking replies by Sept 7.