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Senate polls: Balochistan opposition seeks six Senate seats  

national assembly

QUETTA: Opposition parties in Balochistan have demanded six Senate seats from the provincial government n the upcoming election.

According to the sources, the demand was made during a meeting of the opposition parties held at the residence of Balochistan National Party (BNP) Chairman Akhtar Mengal in Quetta.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) central General Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, BNP Chairman Akhtar Mengal and other leaders attended the meeting to deliberate on the ruling party’s offer.

Later, talking to the media following the meeting, JUI-F’s Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjari had telephoned him earlier today and recommended a Punjab-like formula in the province. He said that they welcomed the offer and maintained that at least six Senate seats should be given to them.

The development came hours after the Supreme Court of Pakistan opined that the Senate election is held “under the Constitution” and thus cannot be conducted through an open ballot, as per the government’s demand.

The Supreme Court (SC) has announced its judgment on the presidential reference regarding Senate polls, directing that elections for the upper house of parliament will be conducted through secret ballot, according to Article 226 of the Constitution.

The Court had reserved its decision on the matter on February 25 after the conclusion of proceedings on presidential reference seeking legal opinion to hold Senate elections on the open ballot without a constitutional amendment. 

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi announced the verdict in open court.

The apex court ruled that the Election Commission is empowered to take all the steps to ensure transparency in the polls. The court said it was the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct free and fair elections. The commission can use technology to ensure the transparency of the polls, the short order stated.