The government has filed a reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan seeking permission to hold Senate elections by show of hands. President on Wednesday signed a presidential reference prepared to change the voting method in the upcoming Senate elections from a secret ballot to show of hands, sources confirmed.

The government has been trying to change voting method without making changes in the constitution.

President Arif Alvi signed the reference on the recommendation of the Prime Minister to hold Senate elections under open ballet/ show of hands.

Currently, Section 122(6) of the Elections Act, 2017, provides for the Senate poll to be conducted by a secret ballot, and therefore the rule can be changed by a presidential ordinance and not only through a two-thirds majority vote. However, the government has sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter under Article 186 of the Constitution, to ensure challenges to the ordinance do not arise in the future.

The Federal Cabinet, in its meeting held on December 15, approved seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court. It also aprovved holding the Senate polls in February instead of March.


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