LAHORE - PTI chief Imran Khan’s assertion that upcoming Senate elections in KPK Assembly would be held through open ballot runs counter to the Constitution which allows elections only through secret ballot.

Article 226 is the main hindrance in the way of holding Senate polls through open ballot which says that “All elections under the Constitution shall be by secret ballot”.

On Monday, Imran had a meeting with Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan to submit evidence regarding rigging in NA-122. Later, talking to the media, the PTI chief said that Rs 20 million had been fixed for one Senate vote in KPK Assembly and that he would ensure that coming Senate elections in KPK Assembly are held through open ballot to avoid the use of money.  

Former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad told The Nation that if the polling in KPK Assembly took place through open ballot it would be illegal and the concerned returning officer could declare the whole election process null and void.

He pointed out that it was not possible to change the existing arrangement without making an amendment in the Constitution. “The PTI chief Imran Khan perhaps is unaware of the constitutional position in this regard”, he commented.  

Kanwar recalled that an attempt was made in the March 2009 to hold the election of the speaker, deputy speaker, chairman Senate, deputy chairman prime minister, chief ministers and speakers and deputy speakers in the provinces through open ballot, but the parliamentary parties could not develop consensus on the issue. He said he was then heading the electoral reforms committee as Secretary Election of Commission.