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SC directs ECP to ensure no disproportion of seats in senate election

While hearing the presidential reference to conduct the Senate elections by open balloting, Justice Ijazul Ahsan Wednesday remarked that the Election Commission of Pakistan will be responsible if any party secures fewer seats in the polls.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan stressed that all parties should win seats according to their votes as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja appeared before the apex court. The ECP’s counsel maintained that secret votes can never be revealed.

In its response submitted to the court today, the ECP maintained that according to Article 226 of the Constitution, Senate elections could be held through secret voting only.

The ECP’s counsel said that votes for the Senate elections would “always remain secret” and the votes that were cast could “not be shown to anyone”.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the votes cannot be kept secret forever according to the constitution and the judicial verdicts. The lawyer replied that the Senate elections are held under Article 226 and it is a crime to take picture of the vote.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the term of free vote was used for the National Assembly elections but it was deliberately eliminated for the Senate polls.

“Can electronic voting be secret? Everything that is done on the internet can be traced.” Justice Ahsan questioned how the ECP would ensure proportional representation in the upper house of parliament, saying that if any party got less number of seats in the Senate as compared to its seats in the provincial assemblies, then the “ECP will be responsible.”

The SC said, “The ECP can inspect casted votes to end corruption. What will the election commission do if a party secures more seats than its votes? The principle of proportional representation and the entire system will be destroyed by horse-trading.” 

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