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pakistan
Wednesday Jan 13 2021
By
Web Desk

After KP and Punjab, Balochistan backs Centre's call for open-ballot Senate elections

By
Web Desk

  • Balochistan government's response comes a few days after Punjab, KP backed it 
  • Justice Ijazul Ahsan says under Constitution, all polls, expect PM's and CM's, are to be held through secret balloting
  • The government has sought SC's opinion on holding the elections through open-balloting 


Balochistan on Wednesday supported the federal government's call for holding the Senate elections through open-ballot after Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa backed it.

The Balochistan governments supported the call in its written response to the Supreme Court in the presidential reference case.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Yahyah Afridi, and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the reference.

Read more: In response to SC, KP, Punjab back Centre's call to hold open ballot Senate elections

The presidential reference was submitted by the Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan after obtaining President Dr Arif Alvi's approval under Article 186 of the Constitution last week.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that under the Constitution's Article 226, it was clear that except for the prime minister and chief minister's elections, all polls will be held through secret balloting.

To this, the Attorney General responded that Article 226 did not apply to all elections.

Read more: PTI govt files reference in Supreme Court seeking opinion on open ballot for Senate polls

The reference, filed by the government, says that the president has sought the apex court's opinion on whether the condition of holding a secret ballot referred to in Article 226 of the Constitution is applicable only for the elections held under the Constitution such as the election to the office of president, speakers and deputy speakers of the Parliament and provincial assemblies and "not to other elections such as the election for the members of Senate" held under the Elections Act 2017 enacted to pursuant to Article 222 read with Entry 41 (1) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution "which may be held by way of secret or open ballot" as provided for in the Act.

According to the government, the nature of the elections and the way it is conducted has not been clearly mentioned in the Constitution.

The government said election for the Senate is conducted in accordance with the Election Act of 2017 and asked if it is possible to introduce the idea of open-balloting in the upper house of the Parliament.