Terming the Supreme Court’s opinion regarding secret balloting in Senate elections ‘historic’, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz put the onus of ensuring transparency on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday, asking it to make use of technology.
“From the opinion of Supreme Court, it seems that Senate elections will be held under secret balloting in light of the Article 226 of the Constitution,” the minister said.
The minister observed this while speaking to media persons in Peshawar following the decision. “The honourable judges have stressed the use of technology to make the elections transparent,” he added.
Shibli said, “the ECP should take every step to ensure transparency in the polls.” He added that the government’s decision to seek interpretation of the Constitution was a good move.
“We are the flag-bearers of transparency and a corruption-free society, and are fighting a war [for supremacy] of ideology,” he remarked.
On the other hand, opposition parties have always been involved in buying people and their loyalties, he maintained.
“We want the public representatives to be elected on the basis of their credentials, not on the basis of how much money they have,” the minister said.
He added that those elected on the basis of money cannot legislate against their interests.
“Hafeez Sheikh will win because the people will vote for Imran Khan and his ideology,” Shibli added.
Concluding, he said, “we don’t want to pressurise institutions as we want them to make their decisions independently.”
Earlier today, announcing the much-anticipated decision on the Senate polls presidential reference, the SC announced that Senate elections should be held through secret ballot under Article 226 of the Constitution.
However, in its opinion, the top court stated that the ECP was empowered to take all measures to curb corrupt practices under Article 218(3).
The decision was taken with a 4-1 majority. “Secrecy is not absolute,” the decision added.
Identifiable ballot papers
Meanwhile, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed Khan said that the SC had directed for identifiable ballot papers to be used in Senate polls. â€œWe have got what we wanted!â€ he stated.
The AGP further said that, â€œNow, it is up to the ECP to either print the barcode or the serial number on the ballot paper.
Khan opined that the electoral authority has to now take measures to make the polls transparent in light of the top courtâ€™s decision.