The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Thursday spent much of its time on tirades against horse trading. Ruling and opposition benches, however, could not agree over a resolution to amend Article 226 of the Constitution in order to exclude Senate elections from the requirement of secret ballot.
Proceedings started on a conciliatory note with Deputy Speaker Khusdil Khan congratulating the House for completing four years and electing members for a second time. He stressed the need for ensuring free and fair Senate elections.
Leader of the Opposition, Akram Khan Durrani echoed his sentiments about fair and free Senate elections and added that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Speaker must ensure that there should not be any kind of horse-trading.
Durrani, who served as the K-P chief minister in the Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) government, also proposed that journalists and cameras be allowed inside polling stations to ensure transparency.
Awami National Party (ANP) lawmaker Saqibullah Khan Chamkani moved a resolution asking the Parliament to amend Article 226 of the Constitution to exclude Senate elections from the secret ballot requirement in order to enhance transparency and discourage horse-trading.
However, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) lawmakers Mufti Kifayatullah and Saeeda Batool opposed the resolution; upon which Israrullah Khan Gandapur proposed tabling a joint resolution with the insertion of a paragraph that this resolution will not be binding technically and morally.
The resolution remained suspended in thin air, as Saeeda Batool proposed to defer it until after the Senate polls. When the Speaker asked Chamkhani whether he was going ahead with his resolution, fellow ANP parliamentarian Bashir Ahmed Bilour asked him to defer his resolution as well and present it after the Senate elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2012.