ECP’s support for the secret ballot took PTI by surprise | Instant News


ISLAMABAD:

The government led by Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Pakistan was shocked by the response from the General Elections Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to the Supreme Court in presidential reference case it supports a secret vote in Senate elections.

A senior government official, while speaking with The Express Tribune, revealed that the ECP’s brief statement on Saturday took the government by surprise. He said the government did not expect election monitors to oppose open voting.

Supporting a secret vote in Senate elections, the ECP submits a statement to a judge consisting of five judges presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, through his advisor Sajeel Sheryar Swati on Saturday.

Other senior government officials believe that the establishment of the ECP violates Article 218 (3) of the Constitution and the Supreme Court decision at PLD 2012 SC 681, which directs the ECP to take all steps to curb corrupt practices and make elections transparent, fair, fair and fair.

He questioned what steps the ECP has taken so far to make Senate elections transparent. On the other hand, the ECP source said that the concise statement was prepared on the instructions of ECP members.

Legal analysts said that despite showing outrage, PTI can refrain from reacting to the ECP’s stance as the issue is the sub-judge. Likewise, the foreign funding case hearing will also be continued before ECP.

It is also noted that not all government officials agree on open voting in Senate elections. One section of the PTI government didn’t want it. Even a cabinet member reportedly said the formation also showed no interest in changing the Senate’s electoral method.

A senior PTI leader believes that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to give party tickets to some individuals who are unpopular with lawmakers and there are concerns that in the case of a secret ballot they may not get votes.

Interestingly, PTI has so far not invited party ticket submissions for the Senate election. The party has not even formed a council to elect candidates. It is known, Prime Minister Imran himself will announce the names of PTI candidates.

Curiously, pro-establishment lawyers have publicly argued that Senate elections cannot be held by open ballot without constitutional amendments. Waseem Sajjad’s senior lawyer Raja Amir Abbas, Riaz Haneef Rahi also said that constitutional amendments would be needed for this purpose.

The government through Pakistan’s Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan has requested the interpretation of Article 226 of the Constitution through presidential references. Under Article 226, all elections other than the prime minister and chief minister, will be held by secret ballot.

The AGP said the government only wanted clarification on whether Senate elections should be held under the Constitution or the law. The government believes that an open ballot in Senate elections can be done by amending the 2017 Election Law, rather than changing the Constitution.

However, the opposition party argues that constitutional amendments are needed to change the mode of voting. Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Senator Raza Rabbani, while parties to the case, have opposed the government’s plans. Likewise, the superior bar is also against the move.

The ECP in a brief statement said that articles 59, 219, 224 (3) and (5) of the Constitution govern the election of the Senate. He added that “Senate elections ‘are elections under the Constitution’ for the purposes of Article 226 of the Constitution”.

The case was tried by five high-ranking judges led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Gulzar Ahmed. The court has removed the revised referral case for today’s hearing (Monday).

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