Preponement of Senate election- a new Pandora’s Box

Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the Senate elections would be preponed. He has also said that the government would go to the court to allow “show of hands” as a way of conducting elections for the Senate. Head of PDM, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has said that preponing the elections was unconstitutional. He has asked the election commission to take notice of the issue and hold the Senate elections in time. PPP’s Raza Rabbani has said that according to article 213, it is the responsibility of the election commission to conduct the elections. According to media reports, the Attorney General has sent a note to the Prime Minister suggesting that it would be better to take the Supreme Court’s advice on the issue.

The Senate is an important part of the parliament. Without its approval, no draft/amendment can become part of the constitution. It remains crucial in Pakistani politics: if a party or alliance has a majority in the Senate, it has an upper hand in the lawmaking process. The opposition does not want the PTI-led government to have a majority in the Senate. The question then is why has the government decided to hold the elections before the due date?

Has it been done keeping the proposed long march of the opposition in view? Or is it because of the threat of resignation by the opposition parties? Or is it meant to divert attention away from the PDM? There is no clear answer as of now. But by raising the issue of preponing the Senate elections, the government has opened a new Pandora’s box. There would be allegations and counter-allegations on the issue. It would have been better if the government had consulted the opposition on this crucial issue?

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