Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that the government will accept the Supreme Court’s decision on the method of voting in the Senate elections.
“We have asked the Supreme Court for its opinion on holding Senate elections via show of hands. Whatever the court decides will be accepted with an open heart,” said Qureshi.
His remarks, during a media briefing in Multan, come a day after President Arif Alvi signed off on an ordinance that paves the way for Senate polls via an “open and identifiable ballot”.
Qureshi said that the nation must decide for itself “who desires an end to corrupt practices and who wishes to promote Senate wheeling and dealing”.
He pointed out that the Charter of Democracy signed by the PPP and PML-N in 2006 contains a section that expressly lays out that Senate elections will be held via open balloting — the very change being sought by the government now.
“Why are you now turning your back on the agreement?” he questioned.
“The Opposition must tell us why they are so bent on setting up a market for the buying and selling of votes in the Senate elections,” the minister added.
He said this buying and selling of votes “must come to an end” and this is the government’s aim.
Qureshi said that the government “does not have a two-thirds majority in the Senate” and was ready to work with the Opposition for a constitutional amendment to change the method of voting, “but unfortunately, the Opposition did not let this happen”.
Speaking of the Opposition’s decision of a “long march”, to begin on March 26, he said that a protest is the Opposition’s democratic right, but “we request them not to spread chaos and not to take the law into their own hands”.
“They must protest in a democratic manner,” said the minister.
Referring to the rallies held by the 11-party Opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, he said that the events “did not see people’s participation much”.
“The people are aware that no benefit to the country lies in such activities that may be a source of mayhem,” he said.
Qureshi said that if the Opposition bring forward good recommendations, they will be accepted.
The foreign minister lauded the United Nations General Assembly’s decision to annually observe Kashmir Day on February 5.
“Today the cause of Kashmir is spreading to the far reaches of the world,” he said.