Senate Elections

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Recent news about the government’s announcement of holding the Senate elections in February instead of March 2021 and the decision to use “open voting” or show of hands for the elections is a nascent development in the political arena of Pakistan. The news of term completion of more than 65 percent of the senators spread like a wildfire and innocent masses then connected the chatter with the resignation campaign of the opposition parties; however, the opposition parties, currently on the anti-government campaign will not be able to retain their majority in the upper house of parliament. In March 2021, majority of senators, more than 65 percent will be after completing their six-year constitutional term belong to the opposition parties. The news about holding the elections earlier while through open voting is an admirable step by the incumbent government because it will put an end to the so called “horse trading” of votes in the upper house. As said by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, “Controversies have always surrounded the Senate elections. It is such an old practice that it is assumed that in the elections, [horse trading] will surely take place”. PTI promise to bring about reforms in the electoral process, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had dismissed 20 members of provincial assemblies on the issue. He said the Supreme Court had issued a short order regarding free and fair elections, following which the government had introduced a bill in the National Assembly. He said that the government mulled over getting the bill ratified through several means, either through a constitutional amendment, executive order, or the election commission. However, the opposition parties had called the move unconstitutional; whereas the Chaudhary opposed the move by saying, that government should take the opposition parties on board before such political reforms. On the other hand, it is sure that voting through show of hands will increase transparency and the invitation from PTI government to the opposition parties for discussing the electoral reforms is an even-handed gesture.

 

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