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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday expressed his optimism about the victory of joint opposition candidate, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, from Islamabad in the Senate election.

Talking to media after appearing before the Accountability Court in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) case against him and others, Abbasi expressed his hope that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s joint candidate, Gilani would win the Senate election. Following victory of the joint opposition candidate, the country’s politics will get a new direction, he said. Abbasi said that given the performance of the current government people know that they would lose the next election if they entered it on a PTI ticket and that was why they would vote according to their conscience [in the Senate election].

About the Supreme Court’s verdict regarding the presidential reference seeking open ballot for the Senate elections, he said that the apex court did not approve the government’s reference and upheld “secret ballot” as per Constitution.

Following issuance of detailed judgement of the Supreme Court, the parliament will decide whether an amendment should be made in the Constitution or the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would amend its rules, he said, adding, that it would be also reviewed that the apex court’s detailed judgement was only an opinion or a direction to be implemented.

Abbasi said that the apex court in its opinion about holding the Senate elections through “secret ballot” also advised to ensure transparency and use of technology to ensure status of vote.

“This is a contradiction which needs to be removed after the detailed order comes,” he said.

He said that the Senate elections scheduled to be held today (Wednesday) would be held as per the past practice, and such a practice would continue until parliament did not amend constitution or law. Abbasi alleged that the present government had kidnapped 20 presiding officers during of NA-75 Daska by-election.

When the government itself is involved in election stealing then how can one expect justice, he said, adding that the people of Daska had proved that they would not tolerate any kind of rigging in the election. Earlier, he appeared before the Accountability Court-II judge, Muhammad Azam Khan, in the LNG case. The court marked attendance of the accused, and adjourned hearing of the case till March 9th due to the lawyers’ protest.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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