PPP terms Election Amendment Ordinance 2021 as an attack on the constitution & parliament

KARACHI, (MANEND NEWS): Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Sunday while terming the Election Amendment Ordinance 2021 as an attack on the constitution and parliament said that the government itself has created a constitutional crisis.

Addressing a press conference flanked by party leader and Senator Sherry Rehman in Karachi on Sunday, former chairman senate Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led (PTI) cabinet is playing with the country’s constitution, adding that the cabinet is blind and cannot read the constitution.

The PPP leader said that if elections are held under an ordinance and the ordinance is repealed, then the whole election will be annulled.

Raza Rabbani said that the Election Commission of Pakistan has filed its reply in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, adding that the ECP has replied that the Senate and the National Assembly elections will be according to the constitution. The ECP had made it clear that the Senate elections through open ballot cannot be held unless there is a constitutional amendment and now the government has also put the Election Commission before the Supreme Court.

Further taking a jibe at the government, he asked why the Senate and the National Assembly were convened if legislation was to be enacted, adding that the life of the ordinance is only 120 days. The Senate election is being made controversial by ridiculing with the parliament.

The Senator went on to say that the President can issue an ordinance but the first condition was that a meeting of the Senate and the National Assembly should not be convened, adding that this ordinance is malicious.

Mian Raza Rabbani said that opposition and especially Pakistan People’s Party believes in transparency in elections. He said that PPP has become the victim of the rigging in elections more than one time. He said that if is our effort from late Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto till today that there should be transparency in the election process because many elections have been snatched from PPP.

He said that the current government has not made any effort to build any consensus regarding the constitutional amendment for holding senate elections through an open balloting, adding that the committee of the whole had given such suggestion in 2016 but from 2016 till date no one took up this issue. He said suddenly in October 2020 the current cabinet decided that the 26th constitutional amendment bill should be brought and this bill was moved in the National Assembly, adding this bill remained present in the committee from October 2020 to 5th or 6th February in the committee.

Mian Raza Rabbani said that government did not talk with the opposition and also did not initiate any national debate on this issue, adding that the bill is about the senate but the government did not take the senate into confidence that what kind of amendment they are brining and what impact of the show hand will be or now they are talking about trace of vote how it will impact the system of proportional representation of the vote. He said that no contact was made with the political parties and nationalist parties to whom this amendment can hit.

Mian Raza Rabbani said that which kind of cabinet it is, such cabinet is imposed in the country, which has not one opinion, adding that in October 2020 this cabinet decided to carryout constitutional amendment and said that it is necessary to introduce amendment in Articles 226 and 59 so that the 26th constitutional amendment bill was moved in the National Assembly. He said that in January 2021 Prime Minister Imran Khan given statement that the senate elections should be held through show of hands so the cabinet on 21st January sent the advice to the president of Pakistan that you should send the reference under Article 186 should be sent to Supreme Court of Pakistan in which the total contrary statement was given that the senate and parliament election are not held according to the constitution so with the amendment of simple law this problem could be resolved.

He said that the same cabinet at the end of January decides that the constitutional bill pending in the standing committee of the national assembly should be get passed from the standing committee and should be presented in the house, adding that when this decision was taken at that the reference is pending in front of Supreme Court of Pakistan.

He said which kind of cabinet it is which has no one opinion and is playing with the constitution of the country, which considers that the constitution and laws of the country are like plaster seen and could be bended anyway. He said that in February an important bill is circulated through summary that an Ordinance should be introduced and this amendment should be carried out and this same cabinet approves this ordinance and cabinet did not keep in mind that the reference is already pending in Supreme Court on this issue. Mian Raza Rabbani said he has not seen such ordinance in his life which is conditional to the Supreme Court of Pakistan judgment.

He said that it looks that an attempt is made to pressurize the Supreme Court while issuing presidential ordinance. He said that this ordinance is based on mala fide. He said that the president could issue the ordinance but for this there are some preconditions. He said that first precondition is that the senate and national assembly will not be in session, adding that this very president prorogued the national assembly and senate sessions two days ago with his signatures, adding that when you wanted to carryout the legislation then why you prorogued the national assembly and senate. He said that the ordinance is a temporary legislation and the life of the ordinance is 120 days. He said that if the resolution of disapproval comes prior to this period then the ordinance ends, what joke is being done. He said that parliament has already been made redundant and more joke is being doing done with it. He said that the senate election is being made disputed, adding that there is great room present in the law that this ordinance should be challenged in the courts, adding that if the senate elections are held under this ordinance and later on the ordinance is strike down then the elections held under this ordinance will be declared null and void.

Mian Raza Rabbani said that the current government is playing with all the institutions and offices, which are working under the constitution.

Speaking on the occasion, PPP leader Sherry Rehman criticised the government’s promulgation of a presidential ordinance to make amendments to the Elections Act, 2017, to hold Senate polls through open ballot, saying it had created a “constitutional crisis” with the move.

“They have created a constitutional crisis with their own hands,” Sherry Rehman said, adding that the sole reason for it was that the PTI government had feared its members and their votes were no longer “in their hands”.

“You are playing your cards in a way that can create an emergency situation in the country,” the PPP leader said and alleged that the promulgation of the ordinance amounted to an attack on the Constitution and the parliament. “They are ripping its (Constitution’s) page […] amendments in the Constitution is the function of the parliament and no one can deny this,” she stressed.

She questioned why the government had passed the ordinance when the presidential reference on the matter was still pending in the Supreme Court and the constitutional amendment bill was still in the National Assembly and thus the “property of the parliament”.

She said the intentions of the government were clear for all to see and the PPP would “reject them and will challenge them on every level”.

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