ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Wednesday filed a reference to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in order to seek its opinion on the matter of Senate elections and the introduction of open balloting as proposed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
President Alvi has approved PM Imran’s proposal to send a reference to the Supreme Court under Article 186 of the Constitution which was filed by Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed Khan.
The President has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court to amend Section (6) 122 of the Election Act 2017 without making any amendments to the Constitution.
According to the reference, the government has decided to introduce a “show of hands” in the upcoming Senate elections because the method would bring transparency to the election process.
It added that the Constitution of Pakistan currently does not provide clarity about the process of conducting the Senate elections.
The government also said that the election for the Senate is conducted in accordance with the Election Act of 2017, therefore, it is possible to introduce the idea of open-balloting in the Senate.
Earlier this month, the federal government had decided to move the dates of Senate election and hold it in February 2021 instead of March. During a meeting headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the cabinet also announced the use of open balloting in the upcoming elections.
The PTI government’s bid to prepone the Senate polls was aimed at upsetting the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) plan to delay elections by resigning from the federal and provincial assemblies.
The elections cannot be held more than a month before the outgoing senators’ term ends nor can they be delayed beyond the expiry of such term.