LAHORE: On Thursday, one day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that he would go to the apex court to hold the Senate elections ahead of time by showing hands, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz proclaimed that the opposition would not allow the ‘chosen’ wish to be met and asked the institutions not to acknowledge his ‘unconstitutional’ demands.
Since Imran Khan has lost influence over his party lawmakers, the opposition says he is rushing to pursue a ‘show of hands’ phase in the Senate polls to ensure that none of them will lose.
The Democratic Movement of Pakistan (PDM), a coalition of 11 opposition parties, has also declared that it is finding legal solutions to prohibit the Tehreek-i-Insaf government of Pakistan from going forward with its planned Senate election programme.
Addressing PM Khan at a press conference at her Jati Umra residence here on Thursday, Maryam Nawaz said: “You used the [intelligence] agencies to manipulate the election [the opposition’s no-confidence motion] against the [Sadiq Sanjrani] Senate chairman.” Now that your regime is divided… you have understood the value of showing your hands. Why are you finding it controversial and pulling the Supreme Court into politics? ”
She said the government was unable to issue an order to alter the date and procedure of the Senate elections.
PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman also announced that by presidential ordinance, the government could not change the Senate election process.
“In this respect, only parliament can bring about an amendment and the Supreme Court can interpret it,” Maryam Nawaz said.
Similarly, she said Pakistan’s Election Commission had its own legislative head, but his authority was being eroded by the ‘false’ premier. After becoming president of the FIA, NAB and departments, Imran Khan has now become, on his own, head of ECP. This man, she lamented, is bent on undermining the institutions and the Constitution, asking Mr. Khan to stop messing with the institutions.
Maryam, the de facto PML-N chief, explained that the opposition was not opposed to the system of showing hands, but that it would not encourage the ‘false’ prime minister to change it at his will.
“The nation is looking to the ECP not to accept any illegal orders from the premier,” Ms Nawaz said, adding that Imran Khan was playing with his dogs on the day of the PDM rally in Lahore, which indicated that he was anxious as his government’s days were numbered. She said the PDM will take legal remedies in order to verify the plan of the government.
The attorney general for Pakistan, on the other hand, explained what the government said by the form of displaying hands. “On Thursday, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan told Dawn, “The government has not suggested conducting the Senate elections by showing hands as this procedure is not feasible in the Senate polls, which is based on concepts of proportionate representation where the electorate elects more than one candidate.
He said the government had actually proposed an open vote over the previously used secret ballot. On the back of the ballot slip, the name of the elector will be written and will be subject to inspection,” he added.”
Prime Minister Khan proposed a system of showing hands, stating that everyone knew that money was used in the previous Senate elections to buy votes.” And that’s why the government wants to conduct the polls by a show of hands this time.
He said the PTI had expelled its 20 MPAs in the previous Senate polls on charges of selling their seats.
In response to a query about PM Khan’s argument that if the opposition lawmakers tendered their resignations en masse, his government can stage by-polls, Maryam Nawaz said The government can not hold by-polls for 500 seats.” We will not sit idle until resigning.
Ms Nawaz, flanked by Senator Pervaiz Rashid, dispelled the perception that the National Assembly Leader of the Opposition and her uncle Shehbaz Sharif were against resigning from the assembly and stressed the need for national dialogue.
She said, “Shehbaz Sharif said his decision would be the same as what Nawaz Sharif or the PDM would make in this respect.”
About Party MNA Javed Latif’s argument that some party leaders played on both sides of the wicket, she said every attempt was made to crack the PML-N, but at this demanding moment, every legislator had braved the difficulty and stood by the leadership.
The PML-N vice president replied angrily to the PTI criticism that her parent, Nawaz Sharif, amid illness, was eating pizza in London. What the heck is wrong with eating pizza? Doctors do not preclude heart or platelet patients from regularly consuming pizza.
She said that at the invitation of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, she will go to Ghari Khuda Bakhsh for an event in connection with Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary (on December 27) and visit her grave as well.
Sherry Rehman, PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate, addressing the government’s decision to hold polls for 51 Senate seats a month before the timetable, said It is quite clear that this is being done to disrupt the PDM movement, and to compensate for unhappy government legislators whose votes PTI is not sure of.” But what is not known by the federal government is that this is an unlawful and unconstitutional act. On March 11, 2021, the tenure of the current senators will expire, so holding elections before that is incorrect on several counts and adds to the constitutional crisis.
Ms Rehman questioned if before the terms of the senators expired, the Senate polling could be held. Who is the government responsible for adjusting the dates when the ECP has the right to devise the timetable for the Senate elections? According to Article 213 of the Constitution, only the ECP is allowed to declare an election date. What is the urgency of the government that a forty-year-old timetable is being modified? “She asked, adding that it was clear that the opposition and the possibility of losing its own dissatisfied representatives were incredibly shaken by the PTI administration.
‘Article 226 of the Constitution specifically allows for the holding of all elections other than those of prime ministers and chief ministers by declaring that they shall be held by secret ballot.’ After this, there should be no misunderstanding,” she said.
“Former Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said A constitutional amendment is required for voting in Senate polls by show of hands and no reason will be accomplished by submitting a reference to the Supreme Court.
“Senator Sherry Rehman said On the whims of this country, the Constitution of Pakistan can not be changed and definitely can not be bypassed. The laws of the ECP do not circumvent the Constitution, which is the loophole that the government wants when the opposition explicitly rattles them. Only parliament will make laws and we will not encourage them to bulldoze the privileges of our parliament, despite this government’s attempts to make it obsolete.