Islamabad [Pakistan], February 9 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday announced that he will challenge the presidential ordinance on Senate elections issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government, saying that the order was issued because ruling party members were unwilling to vote for their candidates.
Abbasi said that the ordinance, which paved the way for open ballot in the upcoming Senate polls, was issued by the government because Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members were "not ready to vote for their candidates", reported Geo News.
"If the government wants to hold open-ballot voting, then everything else must also be done openly [for the sake of transparency]," said the senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader.
Shedding light on the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) long march to Islamabad on March 26, Abbasi said that many politicians have expressed their opinions regarding the protest, but the 11-party alliance is still to decide "whether to go with the long march or turn it into a sit-in protest", according to Geo News.
This comes days after Pakistan President Arif Alvi had signed the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 to pave the way for Senate elections to be held via an "open and identifiable ballot".
The ordinance stated that according to Section 226 of the Constitution: "All elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot". The Ordinance will come into effect "at once" and "extend to the whole of Pakistan, said the President.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders have vehemently opposed the government's move to hold Senate elections via a show of hands.
In a meeting between PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz, it was agreed that the procedure for Senate elections can not be changed without a constitutional amendment, while Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed similar concerns, reported Geo News.
Earlier today, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Monday condemned the government's decision to for open ballot in Senate polls, remarking that it was based on "malicious intent".
"We condemn the [government's move] to hold Senate elections via open ballot," the PBC said. (ANI)