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Pakistan govt to hold Senate election through show of hands

The elections have so far been held through secret ballot

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 15, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
Posted: Dec 15, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Photo: File

The federal government has decided to hold the Senate election through the show of hands.

The decision was made at a meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday.

The government would seek an opinion from the Supreme Court by filing a constitutional reference under Article 186, the meeting decided.

The article on advisory jurisdiction states:

  • If, at any time, the President considers that it is desirable to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on any question of law which he considers of public importance, he may refer the question to the Supreme Court for consideration.
  • The Supreme Court shall consider a question so referred and report its opinion on the question to the President.

The election in the upper house could be held in the light of the court order without a constitutional amendment.

Elections in the upper house of Pakistan parliament have so far been held through a secret ballot. Almost every major political party has levelled allegations of horse trading every time the polls were held.

The election of Sadiq Sanjrani as the Senate chairman was marred by similar allegations in March 2018.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and his party have repeatedly called for holding the Senate election through the show of hands in order put an end to horse-trading.

The cabinet also decided to hold the Senate election in February 2021, instead of March.

During the meeting, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan presented various recommendations before the cabinet.

SAMAA TV received the attorney general’s note to cabinet members Tuesday evening. It said only the elections for the president and the heads of the two houses of the parliament must be held through a secret ballot.

The Supreme Court had declared the show-of-hand a valid procedure in the local body elections, he noted. Khan said an amendment to Section 122 of the Election Act was enough to hold the Senate election through the show of hands.

Babar Awan, the PM’s aide on parliamentary affairs, also briefed the participants on the constitutional and political aspects of the new procedure.

‘Open to talks with political parties’

The prime minister told the cabinet members that the reforms for Senate elections were aimed at ensuring transparency.

He said they were open to talks with all political parties on these reforms.

There is no restriction for a secret or open ballot in the constitution, legal expert Salman Akram Raja said on SAMAA TV show Nadeem Malik Live. He, however, said the legislation for this would have to be made as per the constitution.

“About the Senate elections, the constitution only says that they must be based on proportional representation and transferable vote,” Raja added.

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Senate, Pakistan, election, Senate election, government, federal cabinet, show of hands

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