The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued notice on an application for pausing of the election on reserved seats for women in national and Punjab assemblies.

The court directed the Election Commission of Pakistan to submit a reply until May 22. The court passed the orders on an application moved by Tariq Aziz Malik who had already filed a petition against elections on women reserved seats.

The petitioner submitted that the general election had been held and now the ECP would hold elections on reserved seats but it should be stopped from doing so before the decision on his petition.

The court on April 2 had admitted the main petition and sought reply from the election commission.

The petitioner stated that there were 188 seats reserved for women in parliament and provincial assemblies on which women are nominated. He argued that it was illegal and unconstitutional, as under Article 226 of the Constitution, all elections shall be held by secret ballot.

He maintained that the nomination of women on reserved seats is a practice of selection, which is unacceptable by the Constitution.

He said: “Every year these reserved seats costs Rs1 billion on account of salaries, perks and privileges of these women, which is a burden on the national exchequer. There is no justification for reserved seats instead they could be allocated to technocrats, allowing them to play their role in progress of the country.

He requested the court to declare the women selection on reserved seats unconstitutional.