December 1, 2023

Senate elections on March 3 to be held as per past practice: ECP


Islamabad- Staff Reporter:

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday stated that the Senate elections will be held according to “the Constitution and law as per past practice”.

“The Commission also decided that due to time constrain, the ensuing Senate election scheduled for March 3, 2021, will be conducted as provided in the Constitution and Law as per past practice,” stated the ECP.

A day earlier, while declaring that the secrecy of the ballot is not absolute, the apex court threw the ball in the ECP’s court, asking it to take all available measures — including the use of the latest technology — to guard against corrupt practices during the Senate elections.

The ECP commission, presided by its head Sikandar Sultan Raja, deliberated on the order/opinion of the SC passed in the presidential reference and decided to implement it in letter and spirit.

“The commission is taking all possible steps and measures to fulfil its constitutional duty to check that corrupt practices in the Senate elections are guarded against. The Commission has so far not received a detailed order/opinion,” the document further added.

It added that apex court said that the election to the Senate is to be held under the Constitution and the law which is through a secret ballot.

“The Honourable Supreme Court, in the short order, mentioned that the Election Commission is required to utilise the technologies and to develop a mechanism for the fulfilment of its constitutional duty in terms of Article 218(3) of the Constitution,” it further added.

“The Commission is of the view that input may be taken from different professional/technical organisations which may help to conclude upon it. The Commission decided to constitute a Committee in this regard comprising of Special Secretary as Convenor, Director General (IT), Member and Saeed Gul, JPEC, Punjab, Member,” the document maintained.

The ECP said that the Committee shall prepare recommendations regarding the use of technology in Senate election within a period of four weeks.

“The Committee may also take assistance from NADRA. FIA. Ministry of IT and any person from these organisations may step into it or co-opt it for giving better recommendations,” it added.

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court after the announcement of its opinion, PTI’s Senator Faisal Javed said the ECP would have to ensure three things: identifiable ballots, proportional representation and ensuring free and transparent elections.

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