ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Monday said that the government's decision to issue the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 was based on "malicious intent" and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
“We condemn the government's move to hold Senate elections through open balloting," the statement said, adding that the federal government made a “hasty move” and did not wait for the Supreme Court's decision in this regard.
The government has already approached the apex court for its opinion on the mode of ballot in Senate elections, 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 of Parliament.
“The government has crossed legal and ethical boundaries by promulgating this ordinance,” the PBC said, adding that the government has tried to influence the upcoming Senate elections.
“The government has gone against democratic, constitutional, and ethical grounds. It has sabotaged the independence of judiciary and the dignity of the parliament,” it added.
“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 contends that the government's move comes after it failed to deliver.
Last week, President Dr Arif Alvi issued the Election (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, under which the upcoming Senate elections will be held through an open ballot.
The ordinance, a copy of which was shared by the president on his Twitter account, will be effective with immediate effect subject to a pending opinion by the apex court on the matter.
Speaking on the matter, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Twitter said that “sale and purchase of votes and horse trading cannot serve the constitution and democracy”.
In a tweet, the minister asked the political parties and parliamentarians to support transparency in the election process, adding it would strengthen the teething democracy and enhance the prestige of parliament.
He maintained that those who become members of the upper house by investing money would always put the protection of personal interest before the people.
Faraz said the “mission” of Prime Minister Imran Khan was to eradicate corruption from the country and ensure transparency, adding that the PTI would not back down in its struggle to achieve that goal.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021