Wednesday September 22, 2021

Senate open ballot reference: AGP requests SC to wrap up case by tomorrow

If open ballot reference isn't wrapped up by Wednesday, Senate elections can't take place on March 3: attorney-general
Web Desk
February 23, 2021
Attorney-General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Attorney-General for Pakistan Khalid Jawed Khan on Tuesday requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to wrap up the open ballot reference by tomorrow (Wednesday) saying that otherwise it won't be possible for the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold the elections by March 3.

A hearing was conducted today by a five-member bench of the apex court which was presided over by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

PPP's Raza Rabbani, who has argued against the open ballot throughout the proceedings, said that the Constitution of Pakistan does not call upon the voter to identify his vote.

"The law will make its own way where votes are bought and sold," argued Rabbani. "If corrupt practices take place before voting, then there is no logic in looking at the votes."

At this, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan asked the former Senate chairman whether there is any mechanism through which the secrecy of the vote is not affected and the vote cast is also checked.

"The law is completely innocent and blind," remarked the chief justice."Isn't there any system available through which we can find out who voted for whom? If bribes are attached with the votes, how can we not review [the process]," he asked.

The chief justice stressed that every person is against corruption and corrupt practices. "We don't want this entire exercise [Senate elections] to go to waste," he said.

During the hearing, the attorney-general said that when it comes to presidential ordinances, no one has the right to present their arguments except for political parties. "Bar councils have nothing to do with political matters," he said. "I am completely against their arguments being heard."

The Supreme Court urged all parties concerned to wrap up their arguments within half an hour each on Wednesday.

The JUI-F and JI agreed with the arguments presented by PPP's Raza Rabbani.