The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared the report of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Senate elections ‘unsatisfactory’ and summoned the chief election commissioner and other officials again on Wednesday (today). During hearing of the case, the chief justice remarked that steps are not being taken to curb corrupt practices. “The ECP cannot be a silent spectator,” he said. “We have to respond to what is happening … we have to stop corruption from the electoral process in any case,” he added. A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Yahya Afridi heard the presidential reference regarding holding of Senate elections through open ballot. On the orders of the Supreme Court, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and members of the ECP also appeared in the court. At the outset of the hearing, the chief election commissioner said the report has been submitted on the orders of the apex court. The chief justice asked how the Election Commission will stop corrupt practices in Senate elections. “What steps have been taken to stop the buying and selling of votes?” he asked. The chief election commissioner said that the commission is aware of its constitutional responsibility. He told the court that all steps are being taken under Article 226 to check the eligibility of the candidates. “We will take candidates’ data from NAB, FIA, NADRA, SBP and FBR, and also review the viral video,” he added. In his remarks, the chief justice said, “Chief Election Commissioner, you may not have tried to understand our previous day’s order. Understand the depth of the matter. Don’t you know how elections are held in Pakistan?” Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that it was the responsibility of the ECP to take steps to curb corrupt practices. The chief justice said that it is unfortunate that the ECP was not aware of the video of 2018. “The ECP is a constitutional body. Just do not sit in the office and work. You don’t understand the depth of the matter … you don’t know how elections are held in Pakistan … creating a code of conduct will not solve the problem …. did you do anything to satisfy the people?” he said. Justice Umar Ata Bandial asked what would happen if a ballot paper needs to be seen three months after the election? The chief election commissioner responded that there is no provision in the constitution for identifiable ballot papers, adding that the constitution will have to be amended for the purpose. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that the Election Commission found out the video of 2018 today (Tuesday). He questioned did the ECP disqualify any senator? To which, the chief election commissioner replied that the forensic analysis of the video would be done. The chief justice said that after voting, there can be no secrecy. “The ECP knows what is happening. Buying and selling takes place before the elections. Commission says we will see after the elections … who will stop what is happening ahead of elections?” he asked. “Is the commission trying to eradicate corruption from the electoral process? The court is not asking for a change in laws, transparent elections are the constitutional responsibility of the ECP,” he added. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that they are asking to stop corruption under the existing laws. “The Election Commission has full authority to make rules … we are not asking you to change the secret ballot, look into the matter yourself when a complaint is received,” he added. The court directed the ECP to submit a report with new proposals after careful review and adjourned the hearing till today (Wednesday).