ISLAMABAD: The government promulgated a presidential ordinance on Saturday to hold the upcoming Senate polls through "open and identifiable ballot" by making amendments to the Election Act, 2017.
Signed by President Arif Alvi, the Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 said it was issued at a time when the National Assembly and Senate were not in session and the president was believed it was "necessary to take immediate action."
The ordinance, which came "into force at once" and extended "to the whole of Pakistan," said that the Election Commission would be required to show the ballot of individual members to the heads of their parties upon request.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) administration recently introduced a constitutional amendment bill in the National Assembly to hold Senate elections through open ballot. However, it was rejected by the opposition, and the session was prorogued after a lot of mayhem in the lower house of parliament.
Last December, President Alvi invoked the advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and sought its opinion on subject.
The presidential ordinance issued Saturday maintained that it was contingent on the apex court's verdict on the matter.
Reacting to the development, some opposition members claimed that the government was in a total state of "panic" over the issue.
The opposition's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance already rejected the idea of open ballot and announced recently that it would jointly contest the Senate polls.
The PDM president, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, also claimed that the ruling PTI party did not trust its own members since it was planning to field candidates who were not even popular within their own party.