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Tuesday Feb 02 2021
Web Desk

SC to give opinion on Senate polls if govt does not withdraw reference: CJP

Web Desk
A view of the Senate during a session. — APP/File
  • Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan argues on government's behalf
  • CJP says if government does not withdraw reference, SC will give its opinion
  • CJP asks "what is so important about open and secret balloting; why are others not agreeing?"

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed said Tuesday that if the "government does not withdraw the presidential reference regarding open ballot voting in the Senate elections, the Supreme Court will give its opinion."

The SC bench, headed by CJP Gulzar Ahmed, heard the case while the Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan argued on the government's behalf.

Chief Justice of Pakistan remarked that if the government does not withdraw the presidential reference, the apex court will give its opinion.

"The court has to give its opinion on whether the constitution needs to be amended or not to change the secret balloting method," he said.

Read more: Open ballot in Senate elections will require constitutional amendment, ECP tells SC

The chief justice asked "what is so important about open and secret balloting and why are others not agreeing? What are the consequences if the vote is sold?"

Responding to the top judge's question, the attorney general said: "Such an act would come under corrupt practice — and a member of the assembly is disqualified under the law for corrupt practices."

Opposition objects amendment

Meanwhile, as the government eyes holding elections via open ballot, the Opposition parties have decided to oppose the constitutional amendment being introduced soon.

According to sources, the leaders of PPP, PML-N and JUI-F discussed the matter after the government announced to introduce a bill in this regard.

Read more: Raza Rabbani not in favour of government plan to have open ballot in Senate election

“The Opposition has decided to not let the amendment pass through the parliament and a strategy would be finalised on Monday before the National Assembly session,” sources said, adding that PPP has decided to oppose the amendment.

Moreover, Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Balochistan governments, has backed the federal government's opinion on holding open-ballot polls, while Sindh has rejected the idea, in their responses to Supreme Court.