‘Secrecy is important,’ says CJP in Senate elections reference

February 4, 2021 9:46 pm by Web Desk


Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed. — File photo
  • Chief justice says there’s a need to remain cognisant of corrupt practices entering Senate
  • Attorney General of Pakistan says whoever comes on a party ticket should vote according to party policy
  • Responding to AGP, CJP remarks that democracy was not visible even in political parties

ISLAMABAD: The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked Thursday that the Senate is a “mature and serious forum” that “needs secrecy to perform its functions.”

The chief justice was hearing a case related to the presidential reference seeking Senate elections via open ballot, a process which would end secret voting.

The chief justice added that there is a need to “remain cognisant of corrupt practices entering the Upper House.”

Arguing during the hearing, Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan said that “whoever comes on a provincial assembly party ticket should vote according to party policy as the political party is accountable to the people.”

Read more: Open ballot in Senate elections will require constitutional amendment, ECP tells SC

Responding to the attorney general, the chief justice said that “democracy is not visible even in political parties.”

“Parties should also adopt a democratic attitude within themselves — the head of a political party should not be a dictator,” he maintained.

Two days earlier, the CJP had said that that if the “government does not withdraw the presidential reference regarding open ballot voting in the Senate elections, the Supreme Court will give its opinion.”

The SC bench, headed by CJP Gulzar Ahmed, heard the case while the AGP argued on the government’s behalf.

“The court has to give its opinion on whether the constitution needs to be amended or not to change the secret balloting method,” the CJP had said.

Opposition objects amendment

Meanwhile, as the government eyes holding elections via open ballot, the Opposition parties have decided to oppose the constitutional amendment being introduced soon.

According to sources, the leaders of PPP, PML-N and JUI-F discussed the matter after the government announced to introduce a bill in this regard.

“The Opposition has decided to not let the amendment pass through the parliament and a strategy would be finalised on Monday before the National Assembly session,” sources said, adding that PPP has decided to oppose the amendment.

Moreover, Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Balochistan governments, has backed the federal government’s opinion on holding open-ballot polls, while Sindh has rejected the idea, in their responses to Supreme Court.


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