ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Friday approved a government move to promulgate a presidential ordinance to make an amendment to the Election Act, 2017, to hold Senate polls through open vote.

The ordinance is likely to be promulgated in a couple of days.

A source in the federal cabinet told Dawn that a summary for introducing the presidential ordinance was approved by the cabinet members through circulation on Friday.

The decision for introducing the presidential ordinance was taken after the opposition staged a demonstration in the National Assembly on Thursday and blocked the passage of Constitution Amendment Bill, tabled by the government for holding Senate polls through the open ballot.

Federal cabinet okays government move

A member of the federal cabinet said that through the ordinance, the government would make some amendments to Election Act, 2017, as the ordinance could not make amendment to the Constitution.

The member said that the government wanted promulgation of the ordinance before the announcement of the election schedule for Senate polls. The schedule is likely to be announced on Feb 11.

“We have very little time to make amendment to the Constitution and because of this the ordinance is being promulgated,” he said.

Another member of the cabinet confirmed that an ordinance would be introduced soon, but he was also not sure whether the amendment would be made to the Election Act, 2017, or to the Constitution.

The government on Thursday tabled the Constitution Amendment Bill in the National Assembly to hold Senate polls through the open vote, but the opposition rejected the bill, created pandemonium and the bill could not be approved by the house. The rumpus forced the deputy speaker to prorogue the NA session.

After abortive attempt to get the bill approved from the National Assembly, the government has now decided to implement its decision by introducing the presidential ordinance.

The ordinance is likely to be promulgated in a couple of days.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2021

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