Elections for upper house are held every three years
The Election Commission has said that it will announce the schedule for the upcoming Senate elections on February 11.
The commission has started issuing nomination papers to the candidates. The people who are representing different parties will have to show their party tickers when they submit the nomination papers, the commission said.
A total of Rs1.5 million will be spent on the elections.
Opposing the open ballot would be tantamount to buying and selling votes, said Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed while hearing the presidential reference on holding Senate elections through an open ballot.
Those who want a secret ballot want the current procedure for the elections to continue, the top judge said. The government will have to make a law on this.
This is exactly what I have been arguing, said Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked about the arguments being made by the people who have been arguing in favour of secret ballot.
The controversy surrounding the Senate elections started when on December 15, the PTI government decided to hold the elections in February, instead of March. Following this, a debate was stirred in the cabinet regarding whether the government had the constitutional right to change the election date.
The federal government also decided to hold the Senate election through a show of hands. The decision was made during a meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
On December 22 the Election Commission clarified that Senate elections 2021 will not be held before February 10.
Various statements were issued over the Senate elections and certain opinions were expressed over the authority of the ECP, which created ambiguity, a statement by the ECP stated.
“Till now, the commission had issued no statement, but now it feels there is a need to provide legal and constitutional clarity over the matter.”
The commission said half the Senate members will retire on March 11, 2021 after completing their term. It pointed out that under Article 224(3) of the Constitution, the elections “shall be held not earlier than 30 days immediately preceding the day on which the vacancies are due to occur”.
Senate elections are held every three years and only the commission has the authority to organise them. The process is, however, spread over phases and takes roughly a month to conclude.