SC reserves verdict in Senate elections via open ballot case
A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Gulzar Ahmed, was hearing the presidential reference.
Earlier during the day, Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked Mansoor Usman Awan, counsel for Pakistan Bar Council, whether he wanted to say that all elections were held under Article 226 of the constitution.
He further said that there was no mention in the constitution of holding elections via secret ballot since the very word ‘election’ implied secrecy.
The CJP remarked that what was under review was the implementation of Article 226 of the constitution.
He added when political parties admitted that corrupt practices were common in Senate elections, then why they didn’t take the initiative. “You people have already seen the video dating back to the Senate elections of 2018, but still there is no readiness on your part to eliminate corrupt practices,” Justice Gulzar Ahmed wondered.
Speaking on the occasion, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan argued that Senate elections were not held under the constitution. “If elections for the upper House of parliament are held via open ballot, then ‘deep state’ will have access to it,” he said, and added everywhere in the world ‘deep state’ is democratic and not dictatorial.
He further said during military regimes, every person voted in his individual capacity. “We have to compare our constitution with our own experiences, and not with other countries’ constitutions,” he argued.
He prayed to the court to give its opinion on the presidential reference early.