The Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have backed the federal government’s move to hold Senate elections through show of hand.
Pursuing the Supreme Court’s January 4 order, the provincial governments submitted their written synopsis. The Attorney General for Pakistan will submit a written synopsis before a five-member larger bench presided by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed on January 11. The bench had directed the attorney general to also submit whether the presidential reference was maintainable or not.
Punjab Advocate General Ahmad Awais backed the presidential reference filed by the federal government on December 24. Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan had filed the reference under Article 186 of the Constitution, invoking the court’s advisory jurisdiction. It sought interpretation of Article 226 of the Constitution which says all elections, except the prime minister and chief ministers, shall be held through secret ballot.
Advocate General Ahmed submitted that the members of national and provincial assembles cast votes in the Senate elections, from time to time, in violation of party discipline for personal gains. Their indecent act had led to an urgent desire to put an end to this undemocratic practice.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government submitted through Advocate General Shumail Ahmed Butt that every voter had the right to vote in a free and fair manner. But some voters betray their parties and their voters.
He said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government deems it a great advantage if Senate elections are held through show of hands.
He submitted that the presidential reference was maintainable as Article 186 of the Constitution empowered him to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court on any question of law, which he considers of public importance.
The provincial government supports the reference request the Supreme Court to hold that the federal government/parliament is empowered to undertake requisite amendments to the Election Act, 2017 and introduce voting through open ballot in the upcoming election of Senate of Pakistan, the KP advocate general submitted.