Lahore: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Wednesday urged Tehreek-e-Minhaj-ul Quran Chief,Tahir ul Qadri to get his party registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in order to become a legitimate stake-holder and to join consultations on the interim caretaker set-up.
“Qadri does not want elections in the country without electoral reforms and wants to be part of consultations on caretaker government despite the fact that Tehreek Minhaj ul Quran is not registered with the ECP as a political party”, Kaira said while talking to the media after the 8th South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) conference at a local hotel Wednesday.
Information Minister said Tahir ul Qadri may address the ECP, ask the parliament and even approach the judiciary if he is not satisfied with the electoral reforms.He added that the Parliament’s Committee on Electoral reforms has also submitted its recommendations to the parliament.About the long march, Kaira said people have the right to congregate, protest and raise voice for their demands but nobody should defy the law.
Regarding the logic behind the march, Kaira said the opposition, political parties, media and the entire nation have urged sanity regarding the long-march.He said now the onus is on the media and the political parties to decide whether suspending state processes by an individual is a constitutional right or negation of it.
Responding to a query, he said the government is not afraid of “Long-March”, adding that Qadri must elaborate on the slogan and aims of his march to Islamabad, a city of about 2 million people.Urging “self-analysis”, Kaira said Qadri’s statements are self-contradictory as he claims to have no desire to be in the government but still wants to lead a march to the federal capital.Vis-a-vis article 62/63 of the Constitution, he said, “We are not bothered whether article 62/63 applies on somebody or not. The decision will be taken when the field is set for the next elections”.About the caretaker set-up, Kaira said the caretaker government will be decided in line with the constitution, adding that mandate of such an interim set-up is only to facilitate the Election Commission and it cannot make policies. “Elections will be free and fair besides being held on time”, Information minister stressed.
On being asked whether Qadri followed somebody’s agenda, Kaira said that neither he nor Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ever mentioned such a thing.PPP believes that a person or a party must refrain from such an act which may bring harm to a democratic set up.About dangers of derailment of democracy, Kaira said he did not anticipate such a thing as people like him and the media men had strengthened democracy in the country.
Talking about the illusions to Al-Tehreer Square, he said people across the globe sought guidance from PPP as it has staged many Tehreer Squares in the 1970 and against four dictatorial regimes after 1977. Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and a large number of PPP die-hards have left indelible marks on the course of history with their blood.
On the question of ‘Lotas'(turncoats), Kaira said PPP does not deal in turncoats as its believes in consultation with the parties, adding that the question should be put to the party which is in need of PML-Q turncoats.
Later responding to a SAFMA delegate, Kaira said that the PPP-led coalition government wanted amiable relations with all countries in the region. There were many unresolved issues with India and the relations with it would improve through dialogue, he said.
About the violation of LoC by Indian troops, Kaira said that Pakistani forces did not pre-empt in the recent incident. Foreign Office called the Indian Depty High Commissioner the other day and registered strong protest over it. He acknowledged the fact that such incidents created bitterness.
“Such incidents cannot break or disrupt the dialogue process between Pakistan and India”, he maintained.
Regarding a coalition with the PML-N after the next elections, Kaira said that PPP has successfully run a coalition government as democratic processes are marked by new experiments, adding that the Indian government also experimented in the democratic process.
He expressed the hope that PPP would form the government after the next elections as well.
Earlier, Kaira addressed the concluding session of the 8th Annual SAFMA conference and stressed the need to enhance regional cooperation and strengthening SAARC on the pattern of the European Union.
SAFMA President (Pakistan Chapter), Nustrat Javed, SAFMA Secretary, Imtiaz Alam, delegates from SAARC countries, and a large number of media persons were present at the concluding session.
Information Minister hosted a luncheon to the SAFMA delegates.