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ISLAMABAD: The major opposition political parties, on Monday, hailed the Supreme Court’s decision on presidential reference that the Senate elections would be held through “secret ballot” and termed it as a victory of the constitutionalism.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) swiftly reacted to the apex court’s opinion given on the presidential reference that the Senate elections will be held through a secret ballot, describing it as a vindication of their stance on the Senate polls. PML-N vice-president, Maryam Nawaz, took to the Twitter to react to the apex court’s decision and remarked: “It is proved once again that the Constitution is far greater than the [presidential] references and ordinances based on conspiracy, deceit and malicious intent of the vote thieves.”

“Now those embarrassed are raising a hue and cry regarding the use of technology [in Senate elections]. Remember! Now no RTS [Results Transmission System] or Daska “fog” technology will work. Why are you scared of the power of the vote?” she further tweeted.

In a reference to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with various MNAs on Monday ahead of the Senate elections, she said the lawmakers who had decided to vote against the PTI were sacred more of the people’s anger than the government’s pressure.

“Whether you put a “bar code” on the ballot paper or sit inside ballot box yourself, those who are preparing to vote against you are more afraid of the anger of the people than of you due to the anti-people policy [of the government] in the last three years. Supporting you is animosity with the country and the people, for which the people are refusing to bear,” she further stated.

After the apex court’s decision, a delegation of the PML-N which included former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khurram Dastagir, Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Attaullah Tarar, met with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, and presented the party’s point of view in the light of the court’s opinion on the presidential reference.

Talking to the reporter after the meeting, Abbasi said they presented their party’s view before the CEC, adding that both the presidential reference sent the Supreme Court and the ordinance were “controversial”. “The CEC listened to our point of view and stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would give its opinion after the deliberation,” he said.

“Unfortunately, both the reference sent to the Supreme Court for opinion and the presidential ordinance promulgated in this regard, were controversial. We hope that the President would refrain from indulging any in controversies given the constitutional position of his office and would act in accordance with the law and the Constitution in future,” he added.

Responding to a query, he said that no body was feeling any danger with the reference, “but the Constitution of Pakistan”.

He asserted that Constitution was already clear on procedure of the Senate polls.

Giving his party’s reaction, PPP’s secretary-general Farhatullah Babar welcomed the apex court’s verdict.

He hailed the verdict as “triumph of law, justice and constitutionalism”.

“It is also a vindication of the position taken by the PPP in the Supreme Court on the issue,” he said.

The PPP leader deplored that the PTI government abused the office of the President by filing the presidential reference and then using the President’s office also issued an ordinance even before the verdict was pronounced and the Court was already seized of the matter.

“Never before legislation had been sought to be done through what has come to be known as “anticipatory ordinance”,” he said.

“It’s no less deplorable that the President also signed on the dotted line of the advice sent to him in filing reference under the Constitution before the Supreme Court as well as in issuing an “anticipatory ordinance” without applying his mind and without asking any questions from the government. The office of the President of Pakistan is and ought to be much more than merely an ordinance making “workshop”,” he remarked.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021