Pak opposition to oppose amendment by Imran Khan on Senate polls
The opposition parties in Pakistan have decided to stand against the constitutional amendment being introduced by Prime Minister Imran Khan to hold Senate polls through open ballot.
The leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (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.
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 Parliament next week ahead of the upcoming Senate elections.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced his decision to hold early Senate elections as currently, the Senate is decisively controlled by the constituent parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
The federal government invoked the idea of early elections in order to change the power structure in the Senate. However, quashing his decision, the Election Commission of Pakistan said that the Senate elections cannot be held in February, as proposed by Imran Khan, as half of its members will be retiring on March 11.
The ECP had said: “Half of the Senate members will retire on March 11, 2021 after completing their six-year term. According to the Constitution, elections cannot be held 30 days in advance on seats that are vacant after the expiry of the term of the members of the Senate, the ECP said, quoting Article 224(3) of the Constitution. This means elections on vacant Senate seats cannot be held before February 10, 2021.
“The last four to five Senate elections have been held in the first week of March. This time too, the ECP will announce the date for the Senate elections at a suitable time, according to the law and Constitution, through an election programme. Conducting the Senate elections is the constitutional and legal responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan under articles 218 (3) and 224 (3) of the Constitution and Section 107 of the Election Act, 2017.”