This photo shows the Parliament House of Pakistan. File/AFP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
The Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) governments have supported the holding of Senate elections through the open balloting and requested the Supreme Court to give its opinion on the subject.
In pursuance of a court order, the two provincial governments have filed their written synopses in the presidential reference seeking its opinion whether the Senate polls should be held through the open balloting or secret vote.
Attorney General Khalid Jawed will submit a written synopsis to the apex court January 11. The court had directed him to argue whether the reference was maintainable or not.
The Punjab government said that the national and provincial members’ illegal, immoral and unlawful acts of casting votes in the Senate election from time to time in violation of party discipline for personal gains had led to an urgent desire to put an end to this menace. This practice has shaken the basic principles of democracy.
It submitted that Article 226 was not self-executing and thus required aid of supplementary provisions, which in this case were the provisions of the Elections Act laying down a complete secret ballot.
Hence, it contended, the elections to the Senate are not held solely under the Constitution but as a matter of fact they are also governed under the Elections Act.
It is the considered view of Punjab that the reference may be answered in the affirmative so that by undertaking necessary remedial statutory action, the Elections Act is amended so that the election to the Senate is held through open ballot, the Punjab government said.
Similarly, the KP government said that every voter has the right to vote in a free and fair manner and not disclose to any person how he had voted but here "we are concerned with a voter who is elected by the masses on the ticket of a political party and must now uphold the will of his own electorate in the upcoming election of Senate.”The government sees a great advantage if Senate elections are held through a system of open balloting. It was submitted that the presidential reference seeking the opinion of the apex court on holding the senate elections through open ballot and show of hands was maintainable.
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