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ECP submits reply in SC, opposes Senate polls by open ballot

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has opposed the presidential reference for holding Senate elections through open ballot.

In its reply submitted with the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the ECP rejected holding Senate polls through the open ballot. It said that the Senate elections would be held as defined in article 59, 219 and 224 of the 1973 constitution. The reply said that as per article 226 all elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be held by secret ballot.

It said the constitution does not allow open ballot elections for Senate. The ECP has also given reference of the Indian constitution in its reply submitted in the Supreme Court.

The federal government has moved Supreme Court to seek its opinion over holding Senate elections through open ballot. A five-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising of Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi is currently hearing the presidential reference.

On Thursday, Attorney General Khalid Javed continued his arguments before the apex court over the presidential reference seeking opinion of the court about holding Senate elections with open ballot.

He argued that an amendment in the constitution is not required it needs interpretation and the supreme court could give its opinion on the constitution. “The reference is based on this question that the Supreme Court should interpret Article 226 of the constitution,” state counsel said, adding that the executive has mandated the court to interpret the constitution.