Attorney General of Pakistan reacts over the Supreme Court decision on Senate polls
Islamabad: Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Javed, while commenting on Supreme Court (SC) opinion on presidential reference, said that federal government has gotten what it was looking for regarding Senate polls.
In a statement, he said that the apex court has asked for a recognizable Senate paper and it is up to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) now whether to print bar code or write serial number.
The apex court’s opinion was very important that secrecy of ballot papers was not absolute, added the attorney general.
“The top court has endorsed government’s stance and said that secrecy of ballot papers was not absolute,” he added.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) announced its opinion on the presidential reference regarding Senate polls, saying that elections for the upper house of parliament will be held through secret ballot, according to Article 226 of the Constitution.
A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi announced the verdict over the reference regarding holding of the Senate polls either through “secret ballot” or “open ballot”.
The majority verdict (4-1) of the top court stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is empowered to take all measures to hold free and fair elections and curb corrupt practices. Justice Afridi disagreed with the majority opinion.
The bench further observed that the secrecy of the ballot papers was "not final".
“It is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to protect the election from corruption. All institutions are bound to follow the ECP," it stated adding, “The parliament can pass constitutional amendments.”
The opinion further read that the electoral body ECP can use latest technology to ensure the holding of transparent elections under Article 218 of the Constitution.
Apex court had reserved the verdict on February 25, 2021.