Senate open ballot polls to maintain transparency: FM

MULTAN: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the government wants to hold the Senate elections through open ballot to maintain transparency and end horse-trading.
Talking to the media on Sunday, the foreign minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to end corrupt practices. He said holding of the Senate polls through open ballot would discourage sale and purchase of votes and bring transparency in the election process.
He further said the government wants to introduce a transparent system for the Senate polls to close the way of corruption on a permanent basis. He said the ruling party lacks majority for constitutional changes and it has tabled the bill seeking the support of opposition as per their promise in Charter of Democracy signed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, the PPP and PML-N are now opposing the government on the issue for their personal interests.
He said the government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a constitutional interpretation. He said the government will welcome the verdict of the court on the matter.
The minister advised the opposition to refrain from creating a chaotic situation in the country. “All of Pakistan knows about the buying and selling [of votes] in the Senate,” he said, adding that “this bidding in the upper house of the parliament should stop.”
Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed the hope that the forthcoming newly elected senators will play their role in strengthening the country.
Responding to a question, he said there are many factors which are involved in the recent hike in prices. He said a hike in commodity prices will not be controlled through more legislation.
He said the masses have rejected the narrative of the opposition parties’ alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and now these parties are seeking a way out to satisfy their workers and stay relevant in politics.
The opposition parties, mainly led by the PDM have been offering a stern opposition to open Senate voting, terming it an attempt by the government to prevent its own lawmakers from changing loyalties.
On Saturday, President Dr Arif Alvi signed off the Election Amendment Ordinance 2021, under which the upcoming Senate elections can be held through open balloting. The government has also sought the opinion of the Supreme Court, asking whether the polls can be held without a constitutional amendment. – TLTP

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