The Election Commission of Pakistan has stated that in order to switch from secret balloting to an open ballot method, an amendment to the Constitution will be required.
The above observation has been made in the ECP’s written response to the Supreme Court in the presidential reference filed seeking an opinion from the court on the way Senate elections are held.
The ECP said that the Senate elections, much like the elections for the prime minister and the president, fall under the Constitution.
“To bring about an end to secret balloting, a constitutional amendment will be required,” said the election commission.
The response on behalf of the ECP secretary was filed to the court by Advocate Shahjeel Shehryar Swati and spans 12 pages.
Sindh opposes changes in method
Meanwhile, the Sindh government has recommended a “show of hands” method and opposed any changes in the way Senate elections are held.
Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Law Murtaza Wahab confirmed that the provincial government is against the open ballot method.
He said that the Sindh government’s response in the reference will be filed next week.
The provincial government is of the view that the open ballot method is “against the Constitution and the freedom of expression”.
Wahab said that the Constitution is “clear” on Senate elections. He said that in the Sindh government’s response Articles 226 and 63-A of the Constitution have also been referenced.
He said that Article 226 clearly lays out the process to conduct Senate elections.
The Sindh government spokesperson said the open ballot method is in contrast to the very “soul” of the Constitution.
“We will provide strong justification against this method with references from the Constitution in our response,” Wahab said.