The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday announced that Senate elections would be held under Article 226 of the Constitution through secret balloting.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan given the opinion on the presidential reference on open Senate vote with majority  (4-1) of the apex court, stated that elections of the upper house of the parliament are held under the article 226 of the constitution of Pakistan.

The opinion was announced by a five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and including Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi.

Justice Yahya Afridi disagreed with the majority opinion.

However,  “SC also said that secrecy is not absolute,” the decision stated. SC in its opinion, also stated that the Election Commission of Pakistan  (ECP) was empowered to take all measures to curb corrupt practices under Article 218 (3).

The presidential reference

Earlier on December 23, President Arif Alvi, after approving the proposal of the prime minister, had filed a 11-page reference in the Supreme Court under Article 186 of the Constitution relating to the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and sought its opinion on holding the upcoming elections for the upper house of the Parliament through open ballot and show of hands.

The president had sought the answer to the question of whether or not the condition of secret ballot under Article 226 of the Constitution applied to the Senate elections. The hearing started on January 4.

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