After rigging allegations in GB, govt decides to make Senate polls more transparent

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that the government has decided to move a constitutional amendment in the Parliament to introduce a ‘show of hands’, during voting in the Senate elections, instead of secret ballots, as part of its efforts to bring about electoral reforms in the country.

While speaking to the media in Islamabad, the prime minister said that "everyone says that money is exchanged in Senate election" and recalled that the ruling PTI had expelled 20 of its own MPAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after it was found that they "sold their votes" in 2018’s polls of the upper house.

"What [the proposed amendment] would do is end the money exchange and corruption in the Senate electoral process," he explained. "Now it is up to the rest of the parties whether they will support this constitutional amendment because a two-thirds majority is needed which we (government) don’t have.

"So we will know if all parties agree to this because everyone says that money is exchanged in Senate election, everyone says that."

He said the government will also move two other electoral reforms, including e-voting and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis. The reason behind introducing electoral reforms in the country, the premier said, was that he wanted elections in Pakistan to be free and fair so that the "loser accepts their defeat" instead of levelling rigging allegations. He noted that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Senate elections were approaching as well.

The premier also talked about rigging allegations following the 2013 and 2018 general elections. He said that in 2013, all parties including PML-N, which had won, had agreed that the election was rigged and 133 petitions by different people were filed in the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PTI, he said, demanded that polling in four constituencies be investigated.

"Why did we say four constituencies? A government cannot be formed through four constitutencies, PTI would not have come into power. We said this so that after an audit [of the four constituencies] is held [...] whatever had happened would have come out in the open. gment-->