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LHC seeks legality of quota for women

LAHORE, Feb 29: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain on Friday asked a petitioner who had challenged the provision of reserving seats for women in the national and provincial assemblies to submit on record what the original 1973 Constitution said regarding quota for women in the assemblies.

Petitioner Tariq Aziz said there were 60 reserved seats for women in the National Assembly and 128 in four provincial assemblies.

He said that 12 women had been elected directly to the previous National Assembly.

He said that so far elections on the reserved seats had been made on the basis of kinship and influence and not on political considerations.

He said that according to the Article 25 of the Constitution there should be no discrimination on the basis of gender.

He said the government had to bear a burden of Rs1,006 million on election to the reserved seats and it paid Rs1,760,000,000 as salary and allowances to women elected on such seats.

He said that instead of election on the basis of gender, technocrats from different walks of life should be brought into the legislature to make the process of legislation more meaningful.

He said that in the Shereen Masood case it was said that women should be given admission to medical colleges on merit and not on quota basis.

He said a five-member bench of the Supreme Court had done away with the quota system in medical collages in accordance with the Article 25 of the Constitution.

Appearing on behalf of the federal government, the deputy attorney-general said the quota could not be challenged because it had been added to the Constitution through the 17th Amendment.

The chief justice put off the hearing till next week.
Source: Dawn