Senate polls: Opposition decides to strongly oppose amendment, sources say

ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): Opposition parties have decided to oppose the constitutional amendment being introduced by the ruling PTI to hold the Senate polls through the open ballot, it emerged on Saturday.

According to sources, the leaders of PPP, PML-N and JUI-F discussed the matter after the government announced to introduce a bill in this regard.

“The Opposition has decided to not let the amendment pass through the parliament and a strategy would be finalised on Monday before the National Assembly session,” sources said, adding that PPP has decided to oppose the amendment.

Both the PML-N and PPP have strongly rejected the idea of changing the voting procedure of the Senate. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier this month approved the proposal to legislate on the issue to bring “transparency in the electoral process”.

On Thursday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan had said that a bill comprising three amendments to the Constitution of Pakistan would be presented in the Parliament next week ahead of the upcoming Senate elections.

Addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department (PID) in Islamabad, Babar Awan had said the constitutional amendment bill proposes allowing “voting not to be hidden”.

“To date, no one ever talked about legislation to make the Senate elections fair,” the PM’s aide underscored. “For the first time in Pakistan’s history, a constitutional package for reforms has been prepared.

“The bill will introduce three amendments,” he added, one of which would be “to Article 63-1C of the Constitution”.

“We’re using the words ‘open vote’ instead of ‘single transferable vote’,” he explained.

Awan mentioned that “rates” had been determined for the Senate elections but vowed to “tell everyone” about it. “The buying and selling of votes in the [upcoming] Senate elections can be stopped.

“It was agreed in the Charter of Democracy that the vote should be open and recognisable. In order to stop horse trading, the Opposition parties should unite and consider the amendment as a national agenda,” he stressed.

The premier’s aide also spoke of the anti-government coalition under the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) banner, saying two of the parties in it had “openly said they will break up the Balochistan government”.

“Governments do not go as a result of bad prayers but through a no-confidence motion under a constitutional procedure,” he said. “The transparency report is another proof of the PML-N’s corruption.”

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