CJP regrets PPP, PML-N no more committed to CoD’s secret voting clause
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Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed on Thursday regretted that both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) backed out of their own pledge they had made under the Charter of Democracy (CoD) to eliminate the secret mode of voting, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
In his remarks during the hearing of a presidential reference on holding Senate elections via open ballot, the CJP said that the charter’s document was still there, but the saddest part was that those very parties which had signed it were no more adhering to it.
A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by the CJP, is hearing the presidential reference seeking court’s opinion on holding Senate elections via open ballot.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), on the occasion, submitted to the court the guidelines prepared for the voters.
Giving his arguments in the case, the advocate general, Punjab said that there should be a secret mode of voting.
When CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked as to what action could be taken against a member of the assembly voting against the party lines, Advocate General (AG), Sindh Sultan Talibuddin replied that the question raised in the presidential reference was not appropriate. “Everybody talks about horse-trading, but nobody has its proof,” he argued.
He was of the view that the court should not be dragged into political matters.
The chief justice replied that the constitution was itself a political document and that the apex court while interpreting the constitution was involving itself in political matters.
AG, Sindh said holding a free and fair election was ECP’s job. “No voter is bribed once he is inside the polling booth nor is there any contact with the candidate,” he added.
AG, Sindh Sultan Talibuddin said during the vote count, it could not be known as to who had cast that vote. “The constitution does not allow the revealing identity of the voter,” he told the court.
When he asked whether horse-trading could be eliminated through the introduction of open ballot, Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed replied he was not sure about it.
The court then adjourned the hearing of the case till tomorrow (Friday, February 19).