In response to SC, Balochistan backs holding Senate elections through open-ballot

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After Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa backed the federal government's call for holding  the Senate elections through open-ballot, Balochistan has also followed suit.

The Balochistan government supported the call in its written response to the Supreme Court in the presidential reference case.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Yahyah Afridi, and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the reference.

The presidential reference was submitted by the Attorney General of Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan after obtaining President Dr Arif Alvi's approval under Article 186 of the Constitution last week.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that under the Constitution's Article 226, it was clear that except for the prime minister and chief minister's elections, all polls will be held through secret balloting.

To this, the Attorney General responded that Article 226 did not apply to all elections.

The reference, filed by the government, says that the president has sought the apex court's opinion on whether the condition of holding a secret ballot referred to in Article 226 of the Constitution is applicable only for the elections held under the Constitution such as the election to the office of president, speakers and deputy speakers of the Parliament and provincial assemblies and "not to other elections such as the election for the members of Senate" held under the Elections Act 2017 enacted to pursuant to Article 222 read with Entry 41 (1) of the Fourth Schedule to the Constitution "which may be held by way of secret or open ballot" as provided for in the Act.

According to the government, the nature of the elections and the way it is conducted has not been clearly mentioned in the Constitution.

The government said election for the Senate is conducted in accordance with the Election Act of 2017 and asked if it is possible to introduce the idea of open-balloting in the upper house of the Parliament.

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