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Pakistan

Senate polls to be held through secret ballot, says ECP

  • ECP says that the top court's decision will be implemented in letter and spirit
  • The Commission is taking all possible steps and measures to fulfill its constitutional duty to check that corrupt practices in the Senate Elections are guarded against: ECP
02 Mar 2021

(Karachi) The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that the Senate elections, scheduled for March 3 (tomorrow), will be held through secret ballot as per the previous procedure, local media reported on Tuesday.

As per details, the ECP decision comes a day after the Supreme Court ruled that polls for the upper house of Parliament have to be conducted through secret ballot as required under the Constitution.

A statement issued by the ECP stated that the top court's decision will be implemented in letter and spirit.

“The Commission is taking all possible steps and measures to fulfill its constitutional duty to check that corrupt practices in the Senate Elections are guarded against,” the ECP said.

“The Commission also decided that due to time constrain, ensuing Senate Election scheduled for 3rd March, 2021 will be conducted as provided in the Constitution and Law as per past practice.”

The government and opposition were at loggerheads over holding of Senate elections through open ballot. The opposition parties favoured holding polls through secret ballot while the PTI-led government wanted the Senate elections to be held through open ballot to end horse-trading.

However, the Supreme Court's decision that the polling for the Senate elections can not be held through an open ballot has brought an end to the uncertainty.

The verdict was given by a five-member larger bench of the apex court — headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising justices Mushir Alam, Umar Ata Bandial, Ijazul Ahsan and Yahya Afridi. The bench announced the reserved opinion in the open court with 4-1 majority.

The apex court ruled that the Election Commission is empowered to take all the steps to ensure transparency in the polls.

It stated that it is the responsibility of the Election Commission to end corrupt practices from the electoral process and it can utilise the technology in this regard.

The top court said that it is up to the ECP to decide to which extent the voting should remain secret.