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Change through ballot, not sits-in, says Kaira

12 January, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Friday that any change in the country could only be brought through ballot and not sits-in or protest demonstrations.

Addressing the concluding session of a weeklong journalists training workshop at the National Press Club (NPC), Kaira said, "Those people who want to bring a revolution should contest elections and seek vote from people as nothing can be changed through sit-ins and protests."

He called upon Tehreek Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri to follow the democratic and constitutional course for his reform agenda. Kaira said that if Dr Tahirul Qadri believed in democracy, he should get the public mandate and change the system through parliament. He said that the Tehreek Minhajul Quran was a "religious NGO" and not a political party "so Dr Qadri should better join the politics and get his party registered with the Election Commission to participate in elections".

He said he was surprised as to how Dr Qadri could bring change if he did not want to contest elections and get people's mandate. Replying to a question, he said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had met Dr Qadri to share with him information about terror threats.

To a question, he said there were concerns in different quarters about the long march of Dr Qadri "as questions are being raised from where he has been getting funds for the march".

About the new wave of terrorism in the country, he said that some elements wanted to delay the electoral process but they would not succeed in their nefarious designs. The minister said that the policy of reconciliation had strengthened the federation and the country was put back on the path of prosperity and progress.

Kaira said that the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) inherited a "bleeding Pakistan" when it came into power. The country was facing many internal and external challenges, including terrorism, law and order in Swat and Malakand, energy crisis, economic recession, food crisis and floods besides an ailing economy, he said, adding that the government tackled all such issues amicably. He said that at that time the world was concerned about the prospects of falling of Islamabad into the hands of terrorists. But the government united the nation against terrorism and formulated a clear-cut policy to counter the menace of extremism and militancy, he added.

Kaira said that the PPP-led government had dismantled the terrorist networks although a few dispersed groups still existed. Enumerating achievements of the government, he said that an "equitable system of resource distribution" has been evolved and longstanding demands of the provinces have been fulfilled by ensuring durable provincial autonomy. "The rights of suppressed people have been restored and the mistrust between the centre and the provinces was turned into a sense of unity," he added.

The minister said that the PPP has assembled all the political forces of the country on one platform and freed Swat and Malakand from the clutches of terrorists. He said the government had given provincial autonomy to the provinces by transferring 70 percent of resources to them under the National Finance Commission Award. He said that the government had made the country self-sufficient in wheat. "Today the country has started exporting wheat and sugar while it had to import 2.5 tonnes of wheat in the past," he added.

The minister said that BISP was initiated in April 2008 with the objective of enhancing capacities of the poor people and their dependent family members. Through this programme, millions of beneficiaries were provided social protection, he added.

End.

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