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ECP opposes Senate polls through open ballot in reply to SC

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday has opposed the presidential reference seeking opinion of the Supreme Court about holding Senate elections with open ballot.

In its reply submitted with the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the ECP has 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.

Senate polls are defined in article 59, 219 and 224 of the constitution, the ECP reply read. Furthermore as per article 226 all elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot.

“Pakistan’s Constitution of 1973 does not allow open ballot elections for Senate.”

The ECP in its reply has also given reference of the Indian constitution in its reply submitted in the Supreme Court.

It is to be mentioned here that the federal government has moved Supreme Court to seek its opinion over holding Senate elections through open ballot.

A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising of Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi is currently hearing the presidential reference.

Read more: Senate elections case: AG presents arguments before top court

Earlier on January 14, Attorney General Khalid Javed continued his arguments before the apex court over the presidential reference seeking opinion of the court about holding Senate elections with open ballot.

Attorney General had argued that in this matter an amendment in the constitution not required it needs interpretation of the constitution and the supreme court could interpret the constitution.

“The reference is based on this question that the supreme court should interpret Article 226 of the constitution,” state counsel said. The constitution has mandated the court to interpret the constitution, AG said.

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