ISLAMABAD: The Supr­eme Court will announce on Monday its decision on the presidential reference seeking its opinion on holding Sen­ate elections through open ballot.

As per the cause list issued by the SC registrar office on Saturday, the opinion will be announced by a five-member larger bench comprising Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi.

The registrar office has issued notices to the attorney general, chief election commissioner, Senate chairman and speakers of the national and provincial assemblies, advocates general for the four provinces, members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and others.

The apex court had on Thursday reserved its opinion on the reference instituted by President Dr Arif Alvi by invoking the court’s advisory jurisdiction to suggest if the Senate elections could be held through open ballot.

During the hearing, the chief justice regretted that all the political parties, inclu­ding the PPP, PML-N and now the ruling PTI, got opportunities to do something about making laws to guard against corrupt practices in the Senate elections, but despite the fact that so­me­thing wrong was going on, none of them did anything.

The chief justice wondered why the 26th Cons­titution Amendment that deals with open ballot in the Senate elections was still pending before the National Assembly.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2021

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