Opposition denying Senate Election Bill to continue corrupt practices; Shah Mahmood

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi on Wednesday said that Opposition was denying its support on 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill and another legislative proposal related to electoral reforms because it wanted to continue corrupt practices in politics.

Taking part in debate in National Assembly on the Constitution (twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said this bill was introduced to stop those who try to come into Parliament by using money and have no political affiliation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said had committed to introduce reforms in Senate elections and this bill was step forward to fulfill the promise he made with the nation.

He said that Opposition and its allies are in majority in the Senate where they debated to introduce reform in the Senate elections. However, the minister said they exposed themselves by opposing this bill in National Assembly and the nation had come to know about their dual standard.

Shah Mahmood questioned the response of the Opposition on this bill in National Assembly and said it wanted to continue corrupt practices because of lust of horse trading. The minister said the government wanted actual representation in the Senate from all federating units and to stop those who wanted to fill their own pockets after coming into power. “We (the government) did not move this bill to get results supporting us but to ensure transparency in the Senate elections, ” he added.

He said that PTI government took disciplinary action against its own MPAs during last Senate polls because it wanted fairness in elections. The leaders of both parties – PML-N and PPPP – signed Charter of Democracy (CoD) and agreed for transparency in Senate elections but their followers were now opposing the agenda of their own leadership, he added.

Shah Mahmood said the government had requested the apex court for interpretation on the laws related to Senate elections and the matter was under consideration there. On the other hand, option of constitutional amendment was put before the Parliament but two-third majority is required for it.

He said that PTI had not two-third majority in the House and the opposition parties had refused to vote for this amendment because of their dual standard. “PTI had come up to the expectations of the people by introducing such reforms and they would decide as who were their actual representatives, ” the minister added.

Shah Mahmood highlighted the salient features of the Constitution (twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020 and said that it would provide an opportunity to Pakistanis living abroad to participate in elections. He said Pakistan was getting remittances more than export from these Pakistanis and this bill would provide them opportunity to serve the country in an effective manner.

The minister said that Opposition lawmakers earlier talked about tendering resignation but later their stance completely changed. He said that Opposition parties were planning long march but PTI would defend Constitution as well as Parliament and to win Senate elections with majority.