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Presidential reference: SC hears PPP’s arguments on open ballot for Senate polls

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has conducted the hearing of the presidential reference seeking advice from the top court on holding Senate elections through an open ballot, ARY News reported on Friday.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard the arguments from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on the presidential reference regarding the open vote in Senate elections.

During the hearing, CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed questioned the submission of instructions to voters in Senate polls by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The lawyer representing ECP informed the top court that copies of the instructions issued to voters have been submitted.

Read: PPP-P prays Supreme Court to send back Presidential Reference

PPP counsel Raza Rabbani initiated the arguments and said he has appeared in the court in his personal capacity alongside representing the political party.

CJP Ahmed remarked that Rabbani is serving as a Senate member since 1994.

The counsel said that the federal government is trying to creating an impression as the case was about the jurisdiction of 3/184. The establishment of Senate aims to give equal representation to the provinces, said Raza Rabbani, adding that in a parliamentary system, running businesses in both Houses are not possible.

The National Assembly (NA) represents the nation, where, Senate is the representative of federal units and it will be unnatural for having no difference of opinion in both Houses, said Rabbani.

Read: Advocate Generals conclude arguments on Presidential Reference

“It is not necessary for a ruling party to gain majority a province while the proportion of Senate seats can also be changed after the coalition of opposition. I will give a detailed stance on the point pertains to the proportional representation.”

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that proportional representation [in Senate] have been mentioned in Article 51 and 59. The alliance of political parties will not affect the proportional representation, whereas, the coalition should be made in public if any political party is willing to do it.

Raza Rabbani argued that proportional representation will be made on reserved seats in accordance with the party list, whereas, Article 59 defines the proportional representation in the Senate through an open vote. Moreover, the proportional representation of political parties being described by the court was about the ideal condition, but the political matters would never remain ideal, he added.

Justice Ahsan remarked that the proportional representation of each political party should be made in the Upper House.

Read: Presidential Reference: SC summons CEC with plan to curb election graft

Raza Rabbani argued that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) are coalition partners in Punjab and the ruling party has also awarded the Senate seat to its partner.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial maintained that political parties are adjusting their seats with the coalition parties in other provinces as well.

Later, the top court adjourned the hearing of the presidential reference on the open ballot in Senate polls till Monday. The hearing will be resumed at 12:00 noon on Monday where the PPP counsel Raza Rabbani will give arguments regarding Article 226.

Earlier, the PPP had filed an application in the apex court through Nayyar Hussain Bukhari to become a party in the presidential reference, praying to answer the reference in negative.

The federal government had filed the presidential reference on December 23 in court, had sought the opinion of Supreme Court on holding the upcoming elections for the Senate through the open ballot.

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