SC seeks comprehensive report from ECP on Senate polls conduct

By: News Desk      Published: 05:01 PM, 16 Feb, 2021
SC seeks comprehensive report from ECP on Senate polls conduct

The Supreme Court has sought a comprehensive report from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as it heard on Tuesday the presidential reference about open balloting in the Senate elections.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed identifiable ballot papers for the Senate elections. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja appeared before the apex court and maintained that the voters’ identity cannot be revealed as a constitutional amendment is required for identifiable ballot papers.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heading the five-member bench, said in his remarks that the apex court is not directing to change any law, and inquired that whether the ECP has ensured people to conduct transparent elections.

The CJP said, “All leaders are levelling allegations of corruption in the Senate elections. What is the ECP doing if it knows everything? The Election Commission says it will look into the matter after the polls but horse-trading is done before that. What steps has the ECP taken to stop this illicit activity?”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the apex court is not ordering to change the process of secret balloting, but the ECP should solve the matter itself if a complaint is lodged.

When Sikandar Sultan Raja apprised the court of the meeting that has been summoned to analyze the leaked video concerning horse-trading, Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked whether the ECP has come to know about the video today, and whether it has disqualified any senator.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial said, “Can the ECP take oath from the candidates to not buy votes? Has the ECP notified to complain over giving bribery? Were the candidates given the opportunity to file complaints against each other?”

The top court remarked that the Election Commission cannot remain quiet; it is independent and should resubmit the report after analyzing all aspects.

The court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday while declaring the ECP’s report unsatisfactory.  

PPP-P prays SC to send back reference

The Pakistan People's Party-Parliamentarians (PPP-P) on Tuesday filed a plea with the Supreme Court against the presidential reference. The petition pleaded the apex court to send back the presidential reference as the Senate elections are held under Article 226 of the constitution.

"A bill of 26th Constitutional Amendment has been pending in the Parliament," the petition further said.

According to the PPP-P petition, the government has changed its stance after failing to amend the constitution. "The government has filed the presidential reference to achieve its political objectives," the petition said.

The petition has been filed by PPP-P Secretary and former senator Farhatullah Babar in the apex court.

Earlier, the PPP had filed an application in the apex court through Nayyar Hussain Bukhari to become a party in the presidential reference, praying to answer the reference in negative.

The federal government, which filed the presidential reference on December 23 in court, had sought the opinion of the Supreme Court on holding the upcoming elections for the Senate through open ballot.