Sindh opposes presidential reference on Senate polls via open ballot

By: News Desk      Published: 03:16 PM, 25 Jan, 2021
Sindh opposes presidential reference on Senate polls via open ballot

The Sindh government in a reply submitted in Supreme Court of Pakistan SCP opposed presidential reference on holding Senate elections by open ballot argued that reference was filed on political expediency, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Monday.

The provincial government maintained there were legal questions raised in the Presidential reference and SCP should refuse to give its opinion on the reference.

“The Senate election is held under the constitution and under The Election Act 2017 that clarifies the procedure for elections. It applies Article 226 of the Constitution on the Senate polls,” the Murad Ali Shah led Pakistan People’s Party Sindh government maintained in the written reply in Senate polls Presidential elections.

The reply submitted in the SCP a day after PPP Senator Raza Rabbani took plea before the Supreme Court that the reference seeking the court’s opinion on the open ballot for coming Senate elections was misconceived since the president was ill-advised by the executive with mala fide intent to file the reference.

On the other hand, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement issued on Monday (today) said after every senate election, various parties have made allegations of horse-trading and raised questions on the transparency of elections.

“It was PTI that took disciplinary action against 20 members as no other party has done in history,” Shah said.

The Minister said PTI government is ready to make constitutional amendments for the Senate polls but the question is whether the opposition is ready to assist on this or not.

“The government decided to approach the SCP on the issue of Senate polls on open balloting and now SCP will give its opinion,” Shah further added.

Reportedly, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) already started preparation to hold Senate polls on 48 seats including 11 seats each in Punjab and Sindh, 12 each in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and two in Islamabad.

It is pertinent to note that Sadiq Sanjarani, Chairman Senate in his response in the SCP said the transparent election of the Senate is in the national interest, therefore, Senate elections should be held through the open ballot.

The ECP in its reply submitted on January 16 rejected the possibility of holding Senate polls through the open ballot and said that the Senate elections would be held as per the constitution of 1973.

Interestingly, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments already supported the Centre's call to hold the Senate elections via the open ballot in their replies submitted in SC.

The case is pending before the SC, larger bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed including Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi.

Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan is representing President Dr Arif Alvi. AG Khan had on Dec 23 moved the 11-page reference under Article 186 of the Constitution relating to the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.