No law of secret balloting in Islam, says CJ Jamali

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Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Tuesday said that there is no law of secret balloting in Islam, adding that the secret balloting law was adopted from the West.

A three-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, adjourned hearing after completion of arguments by Farooq H Naek, the counsel for Sindh government in an appeal against the verdict of the Sindh High Court (SHC), which annulled an amendment in local government laws.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led Sindh government had on January 19, 2016, amended the Sindh Local Government Act 2013 to replace secret balloting for mayors and deputy mayors with a show of hands procedure.

The amendment was subsequently challenged by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) in the SHC through identical petitions. The SHC on February 9 shot down the amendment and ordered immediate elections via secret ballot process. Dissatisfied, the Sindh government moved the SC to challenge the SHC verdict. The apex court on February 17 put the elections on hold as it reviewed the Sindh government’s plea.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said every government made laws by itself, turning legislation into a game. He said the governments make laws for their own benefits, and questioned what the reason to change the 2013 law was. The chief justice further said no one is accepting responsibility as both parties claim that their action was based on sincerity.

He said that the legislators have power for legislation but it doesn’t mean they should serve their own narrow interests. Laws for personal benefits destroy amendments, he said adding that legislation should always be for the benefit of the general public. He further said that laws are being made in other countries for the betterment of the masses and the state.

Meanwhile, Advocate General Punjab Shakeelur Rehman said in his arguments that he doesn’t have any objection over the argument of the counsel for Sindh government, in general agreeing to the points raised by Farooq H Naek. He, however, said he wanted to discuss some issues before the court. He said show of hands law passed by the provincial government of Punjab was challenged in High Court for Youth and Technocrat seats.

Additional Advocate General Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Lateef Yousafzai while giving the arguments said KP government held elections through show of hands and no one has raised objections over it. Balochistan Advocate General Ayaz Sawati informed the court that the provincial government wanted to hold elections through open balloting but conducted through secret balloting after the order of the Balochistan High Court (BHC).

The court adjourned the hearing till Wednesday.