Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that the government will open-heartedly accept any decision of the Supreme Court in connection with the proposed open voting in the Senate elections. “The ordinance for the Senate elections is not aimed at giving anyone any favour, but to bring transparency in the electoral process,” Qureshi said while addressing media persons in Multan. 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. The foreign 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.” Unfortunately, he added, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) want to buy the loyalties of the people. “We ask the PPP and PML-N as to why they want to evade the situation today when they had earlier supported open balloting under the Charter of Democracy.” The opposition parties, mainly led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (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. 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. 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. Meanwhile, the Balochistan government lent its support to the centre for open balloting in the Senate election. The presidential ordinance was based on “good intent”, Balochistan government spokesman Liaquat Shahwani said at a press conference on Sunday. “Though a final decision rests with the Supreme Court, we have supported the ordinance in principle.” He said the opposition respects a capitalist, instead of respecting the vote. “Open balloting is being opposed out of hatred for the government.” Shahwani accused the Pakistan Democratic Movement of trying to promote horse trading in the Senate election. On the other hand, Foreign Minister of Iceland Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson spoke with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on telephone regarding the missing Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri. Foreign Minister Qureshi apprised his counterpart of the specific steps taken by the Pakistani authorities to search and rescue the missing mountaineers, according to a Foreign Office press release issued Saturday night. Qureshi reassured that Pakistan would spare no effort and would extend all possible support in this regard. Thórdarson appreciated the ongoing search and rescue operation for John Snorri and other members of the team by Pakistani authorities and thanked for the assistance being extended. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the measures taken by the Sindh government against the opposition leader are highly reprehensible. In a tweet, the federal minister stated that such measures only taken as revenge will increase the bitterness. He said that the law has been blown up. Fawad said that Haleem Adil Sheikh strikes the Sindh government like a thorn. The tweet of federal minister came in response to demolition of opposition leaders’ farmhouses as part of anti-encroachment drive of the Sindh government.