SC seeks proposals from ECP to curb corrupt practices in Senate polls
Summons Chief Election Commissioner and ECP members on February 16 in senate open balloting reference
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has summoned the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) members on February 16 (Tuesday) along with a proposed scheme to curb corrupt practices in Senate elections, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Monday.
A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, in its order, noted that there is a general perception that corrupt practices are followed in Senate elections.
The court referred to Article 218 (3) of the Constitution wherein it is the duty of the ECP to curb corrupt practices in the elections.
Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan asked the ECP's counsel, Sajeel Swati, whether the commission had disqualified any lawmaker who was involved in corrupt practices.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday announced the schedule for holding the Senate elections, reported 24NewsHD TV channel. According to the ECP, the polling for the Senate elections will be held on March 3.
The polling in the elections for the Upper House of the Parliament will be held in the National Assembly and all the four provincial assemblies. The polling will start at 9am and will end at 5pm in the evening. The Returning Officers of the National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies will issue notices in this regard today.
Candidates for Senate elections can submit their nomination papers by February 12-13. The list of the Senate candidates will be issued on February 14.
The scrutiny of the candidates' nomination papers will be held on February 15 and 16. The objections of the candidates will be heard and settled on February 19 and 20.
The Election Commission of Pakistan will issue the final list of the candidates for the Senate elections on February 21.
February 22 is the last date for the candidates to withdraw their nominations.
The date was announced amid a controversy over the ordinance about open voting or secret balloting and the presidential reference case pending before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The government is making all-out efforts for open balloting but opposition parties are opposing the move.
A total of 52 senators in the 104-member Upper House are set to retire on March 11 on completion of their six-year term.
They will also include four of the eight senators from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as the Senate strength will shrink to 100.
Therefore, polling will be held to elect 48 senators — 12 each from KP and Balochistan, 11 each from Punjab and Sindh and two from Islamabad.
Polling will be held to elect seven members on general seats, two women and two technocrats in the four provinces.
Besides, the election on one minority seat each in KP and Balochistan will also be conducted.
It is pertinent to note that over 65 percent of the senators who are set to retire on March 11 after completing their term belong to the opposition parties.
It may be recalled that the membership of the Senate, which was originally 45, was raised to 63 in 1977 and to 87 in 1985 and again raised from 87 to 100 in 2002.