Saturday Feb 06, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has approved a summary to promulgate an ordinance to make an amendment to the Election Act, 2017 to hold the Senate polls through an open ballot, it emerged on Saturday.
According to Geo News, the approval was taken from the cabinet through a circulation summary as there is not much time left for the legislation. The Election Commission of Pakistan has announced to issue the schedule for polls on February 11.
Sources said that Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan drafted the ordinance which has been sent to Prime Minister Imran Khan for approval.
Earlier this week, the government tabled a bill in parliament to legislate on the matter to ensure transparency in the electoral process, but the efforts went unsuccessful due to a protest in the National Assembly.
The Opposition parties have accused the government of tabling the bill because it fears that the PTI lawmakers will not vote for it.
A presidential reference is pending in the Supreme Court to seek the apex court’s opinion on the matter.
Reacting to the development, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto slammed the government for promulgating the ordinance while the matter is sub-judice.
"Is the PTI government trying pressurise the Supreme Court?" he asked.
The PPP chairperson said the ruling party did not hold sincere consultation with the Opposition parties.
"By sending the presidential reference to the apex court, the government has tried to make the institution controversial," he said.
In a hearing last month presided over by a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi Justice Bandial, the court had asked what the difference in procedure between open and secret balloting is.
The AGP had said that the process is the same for the most part.
"The only difference is that in open balloting, the name of the voter is written on the back of the ballot paper. The purpose is to find out which member voted for whom," he explained.