SC highlights govt’s stance over transparency in elections: Babar

ISLAMABAD:Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan on Monday said the Supreme Court in its opinion on presidential reference seeking view of the court on senate election highlighted the government stance and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure transparency in elections.

The ECP has received the Supreme Court’s opinion on Presidential reference seeking apex court’s view on holding of Senate election through open ballot.

He termed apex court’s opinion’s paragraph number 3, 5 and 6 very important where the court had highlighted PTI’s stance.

Talking to media persons outside Election Commission of Pakistan along with Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and SAPM Shehbaz Gill, he stated that the SC opinion had quoted a verdict of 5-member bench in Niaz Ahmed case in which the court held that the secrecy of the ballot was not absolute and that the secrecy of ballot had not to be tempered by practical consideration necessitated by the process of election. He said that the apex court had asked the Election Commission to decide the matter regarding secrecy of votes by keeping in mind the ground realities.

Babar Awan said that the government formed two-member committee including Ch Fawad and Shahzad Akbar to probe video scandal regarding horse trading in the last Senate elections. He said that notices were issued to three Senators who got elected without votes in the provincial assembly through unfair means. He said that video was the undeniable proof of horse trading where everyone could witness the buying and selling of votes. The video of receiving bribe to the Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) was also the manifestation of sale of votes, he added.

He said that the ECP had five powers under Article 218 of the Constitution where it directed the commission to held elections in an honest and transparent manner. He said that it was requirement of the fairness that the member should cast his/her vote according to the party policy.

He said that this was a decisive moment for holding of transparent election and all segments including the ECP, political parties and individual voters were bound to follow transparency in the election procedure.

He said that decisive movement had come in the Senate election issue. He said that at Imran Khan’s government was the first regime that went to the Supreme Court, introduced constitutional amendment and held consultations with political forces. He said that Article 23 of the Charter of Democracy also called for open ballot and identifiable vote.

Babar Awan said that under Article 2-A of Objective Resolution open ballot could be held.

The adviser said that from day one Prime ministers Imran Khan was striving for transparency of the elections so that no one could raise finger on its fairness and transparency.