Justice Yahya Afridi of the Supreme Court observed on Wednesday why the federal government does not approach parliament to have the method of Senate elections changed.

He gave his observation during the hearing of the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s guidance on holding the upcoming Senate elections through show of hands instead of secret ballot.

A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, is hearing the reference.

Justice Afridi told Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan that it was a political matter while he was arguing morality.

The AGP stated that the presidential reference seeks an interpretation of Article 226 of the Constitution, as to whether Senate elections should be held under the Constitution or under the law.

He maintained that he could cite 11 instances wherein the apex court adjudicated on political matters.

He also mentioned cases wherein the court disqualified lawmakers in matters related to dual nationality and concealing assets.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan questioned the conscience of a lawmaker during voting. If an MPA wants to vote as per his conscience then he can stand up and vote, and face the consequences, he said.

He asked whether deviating from one’s party stance in the secret balloting method was not a dishonesty.

The AGP said they were not free to vote in Senate elections and were bound to follow party policy.

However, Justice Ahsan stated that free balloting was then more suited to a secret ballot.

The hearing of the case was adjourned for tomorrow.

On Monday, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) had requested the court to declare the presidential reference as non-maintainable.

The Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments have, however, backed the presidential reference.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.


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