Shibli Claims Opposition Does Not Want Transparency in Senate Polls

Senator Shibli Faraz, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, on Sunday, accused the opposition of not wanting transparency in the senate elections. His claim was a direct result of the protest carried out by the opposition after the announcement was made by the government to ensure open voting. 

Faraz took to the micro-blogging site, Twitter, to reveal this news. He stated that the opposition’s demands were beyond his comprehension. According to him, the measure to ensure transparency was not being appreciated by the opposing parties.

In addition, the Senator claimed that by expressing disapproval of the open balloting, the opposition has shown the world that they do not want to put an end to the politics of money. He went on to say that the move towards greater transparency in elections is a sign of strengthened democracy in the country. 

Meanwhile, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, another Senator, stated that the promulgation of an ordinance would be in favor of open balloting in the Senate. Moreover, he added that it would also be an attempt to have an influence on the decision of the top court. 

Khokar added that if this step is taken by the government, it will only give the impression that the court is not free to make its own decisions. According to him, the public already believes that the government controls the courts. The Senator added that the lawyer bodies and bar councils should think about adopting a clearer stance in this regard. 

In Khokhar’s opinion, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has only caused controversies regarding every single national institution there is. He accused the premier of harming the credibility of state institutions for the purpose of national gain. In addition, he said that by doing so, Khan has not acted in the national interest in his tenure.

The Senator further asserted that the government only wants to influence the Supreme Court. By doing so, PTI will be able to suppress any arising agitation within its ranks. 

The opposition parties, primarily led by the 11-party alliance called the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), have openly opposed the measure to open Senate voting. They believe that it is an attempt by the current PTI government to ensure that its own lawmakers do not change loyalties. 

On Saturday, the President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, signed off on the Election Amendment Ordinance 2021. As per the new laws, the upcoming Senate elections will be easily held through the use of open balloting thus, ensuring greater transparency where the public is concerned. 

Furthermore, the ordinance will be made effective right away. Its enforcement will, however, be subject to the outcome. As of now, the federal government has turned towards the Supreme Court to guide it about whether or not open polls can be conducted without any mandatory constitutional amendment. 

The newly introduced amendment will be added in sections 33, 86, and 122 of the already existing Election Act of 2017.