Govt throws out Qadri's demands
17 January, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Wednesday expressed the government's resolve to hold elections on time, and rejected the charter of demands presented by the Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief, Tahirul Qadri, terming it unconstitutional.
"The government can not accept the demands as these are not in line with the constitution of Pakistan," Kaira said while addressing a press conference on Wednesday. He said that Qadri has only one demand – dissolution of parliament and collapse of the government. The government and all the political parties would consider the TMQ demands if they adhere to the true sprit of the continuation, he added.
He remarked that Qadri wants the government, assemblies, parliament and the election commission dissolved and then get a caretaker government, but Qadri does not comprehend how can a caretaker setup be formed if all these things were dissolved. Criticising the TMQ chief for his demand that the ECP be dissolved and reconstituted, Kaira said that Qadri has not stated how a 'neutral' election commission would be set up.
The minister said that all political parties respect the chief election commissioner (CEC), Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, and have full confidence in the ECP, which comprises retired judges, but Qadri has challenged the credibility of the ECP members through his statement that they were elected on political basis. The CEC and all four provincial election commissioners were appointed constitutionally, Kaira said.
According to the spirit of the constitution of Pakistan, Kaira noted, the parliamentary committee and the ECP has the right to form a caretaker government, but Qadri demands setting up of a caretaker government with consultation of the army and judiciary. A dual national cannot come to the country and demand formation of a caretaker government, he added. Kaira further said that an impartial caretaker government would be set up and the president will have no role in its formation.
In response to Qadri's demand that election candidates meet the criteria in articles 62 and 63 of the constitution, Kaira said all election candidates were scrutinised during the nomination process and eligibility was decided by the courts. The information minister added that Qadri's demands were not in compliance with articles 62 and 63 of the constitution.
Kaira said that free fair elections would take place in keeping with the constitution and as per the Supreme Court's orders. Kaira said that the government would hold dialogue with Qadri only if he adopted constitutional course and became a political stakeholder by surrendering his Canadian nationality.