Islamabad [Pakistan], February 8 (ANI): The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Monday slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government's decision to hold Senate elections via an "open and identifiable ballot", and said that it was based on "malicious intent".
"We condemn the [government's move] to hold Senate elections via open ballot," the PBC said.
According to a report by Geo News, the PBC's statement comes two days after 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 states that if Supreme Court finds Senate elections do not fall under Article 226 of the Constitution, an "open and identifiable ballot" will be held, Geo News reported.
"The government has crossed legal and ethical boundaries by promulgating this ordinance," the PBC said.
"The government has gone against democratic, constitutional, and ethical grounds. [It] has sabotaged the independence of the judiciary and the dignity of the parliament," it further stated.
"The presidential reference contradicts Article 226 and is an attempt to influence the Supreme Court," the PBC added.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) - the 11-party opposition alliance on Saturday 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, reported Geo News.
According to sources, Maryam Nawaz said that it will be known in the Senate election who is standing with whom, and also did not reject the option of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
On the other hand, Rehman said that the PDM will approach the court over the matter if required.
During a press conference, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari voiced similar concerns, saying that an amendment can only be brought about through the parliament, Geo News reported.
Bilawal questioned the need to promulgate an ordinance when the matter is sub judice and vowed not to let the government "violate the sanctity" of the secret ballot in the Senate elections. (ANI)