The Supreme Court on Friday said that the representation of a political party in Senate should be proportional to the strength of the party in the provincial assembly. 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. At the outset of the hearing, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) again submitted its reply regarding affidavits of voters. PPP’s lawyer Raza Rabbani, in his arguments, clarified the purpose of setting up the Upper House, saying that the government gave the impression that the case was under the jurisdiction of Article 184/3 of the constitution. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that every political party should be represented in the Senate according to its strength. “What is the logic behind the secrecy of vote?” he questioned. The chief justice remarked that if a party has two members in the provincial assembly, it can form an alliance with other parties. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan said that the word ‘proportional representation’ is present in articles 59 and 51 of the constitution. Raza Rabbani said that proportional representation of political parties is in the minds of the legislators. There are three different systems relevant to proportional representation. He said under Article 51, proportional representation is based on the party list for reserved seats. “Article 59 is about proportional representation in the Senate. The court is interpreting the ideal situation. Raza Rabbani said political affairs are never ideal. In Punjab, there is an alliance between PTI and PML-Q. PTI has also given Senate seat to PML-Q. Many times political parties also make adjustments with parties in other provinces,” he said, adding that a party forming government in federation does not necessarily mean it has a majority in the province either. Alliances by opposition parties can also change proportion of seats in the Senate, he maintained. APP adds: He said smaller political parties with four provincial seats are also represented in the Senate. The idea of a single transferable vote was introduced to give smaller political parties a chance to have their opinion in the federation, he said. “A party having three or four members in Balochistan Assembly have two senators. We have to keep in mind the composition and purpose of the Senate,” he added. He said majority of the people are represented in the National Assembly, and the Federation of Pakistan in the Senate. It could be seen in the House of Lords and the House of Commons (of Britain). The House of Commons has public representation, he said, adding that the court must look for a solution to the problem in the Constitution. A bill, he said, could be rejected by the Senate after it was passed by the National Assembly. He said the purpose of the Senate was to ensure equal representation of all the provinces. In a parliamentary system, the two houses of parliament are never run by consensus, he added. Justice Bandial said many times the political parties of one province also made adjustments with those of other provinces. He asked as to why it was important to keep secret even if there was an inter-provincial alliance? Raza Rabbani replied that there was a difference between horse-trading and forging a political alliance. “Political alliances are usually secret. Horse-trading can happen if an individual wants to become a member of the Senate,” he added. The court subsequently adjourned the hearing of the case until Monday.