The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) said Monday that the government’s decision to issue the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 was based on “malicious intent” and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
The PBC’s statement comes two days after President Arif Alvi had signed the ordinance 2021 to pave the way for Senate elections to be held via an “open and identifiable ballot”.
“We condemn the [government’s move] to hold Senate elections via open ballot,” the statement said, adding that the Centre made a “hasty” move and did not wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in this regard.
It is pertinent to mention to here that the government had approached the apex court for its opinion on holding the elections via open ballot, in response to which Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed had said that secrecy was important, although there was a “need to watch out for corrupt elements entering the Upper House.”
“The government has crossed legal and ethical boundaries by promulgating this ordinance,” the PBC said, adding that the government has tried “influencing the upcoming elections.”
“The government has gone against democratic, constitutional, and ethical grounds. [It] has sabotaged the independence of the judiciary and the dignity of the parliament.”
“The presidential reference contradicts Article 226 and is an attempt to influence the Supreme Court,” the PCB’s statement added.
The government and the Opposition have also been at loggerheads over the issue. The treasury benches maintain that the polls are a means of “horse-trading,” while the Opposition contests that the government’s move comes after “it failed to deliver.”