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Advocate Generals conclude arguments on Presidential Reference

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday provided the copies of the instructions to voters in Senate elections to the Supreme Court during hearing of the presidential reference, ARY News reported.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed hearing the presidential reference seeking the court’s advice over open ballot in the upcoming Senate election.

Advocate General Punjab in his arguments in the supreme court said that the institutions are required to be strengthened instead of individuals. Political parties bring members of the assembly, which are required to be made further strong.

“Article 59 of the constitution is related to the Senate and it has no reference for secret ballot,” Chief Justice of Pakistan said.

“Keeping every thing secret is not essential for transparency,” AG Punjab said.

On a question of Justice Umar Ata Bandial, AG Punjab said, ” In indirect elections members bound to follow the party discipline. There are instances of illegal grabbing of the mandate in the past. Asif Zardari has recently stated about winning 10 seats. It is a political statement but against the mandate,” Punjab advocate general said.

Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin in his arguments termed the question raised in the presidential reference as irrelevant adding that ” the horse trading remains restricted to news and videos.”

“If the senate election has been challenged at any time,” the CJP questioned. “Learned court should stay away from political questions,” AG Sindh replied.

“The constitution is itself a political document and when the court interpret the constitution, it performs a political job,” the chief justice said.

“The election commission is entrusted for holding transparent elections,” AG Sindh said.

“Is it feasible to scrutinize the vote after election result,” the chief justice posed question. “It is not mandated in the constitution to disclose identity of the voter,” Sindh advocate general said.

“Whether the open ballot will end the horse trading,” Sindh AG questioned. “Nothing could be said whether the open ballot will end the horse trading or not,” the chief justice remarked.

“Proportional representation in the senate is related with provinces and not with the political parties,” the advocate general said.

Balochistan’s advocate general adopted the contentions of the Attorney General.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case till Friday (tomorrow) at 10:30 am.

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