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Imran, Qadri join hands against ECP

07 February, 2013

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LAHORE: Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf and Tahirul Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehreek have expressed their strong reservations over the performance of the Election Commission of Pakistan, and both the parties have demanded its dissolution and formation of a new election commission to hold free and fair elections in the country.

The PTI has, however, conveyed a clear message to Qadri in a special meeting that the party would not approve any move to derail democracy, as it believes in "change through ballet, not bullet", our sources has learnt. PTI's central leaders, including President Javed Hashmi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on Wednesday held three-hour-long negotiations with the TMQ chief at his residence in the Minhajul Quran Secretariat at Model Town and discussed different political issues, especially the election reforms, reconstitution of the ECP and President Zardari's resignation before the general elections.

Sources in the PTI and PAT told this scribe that the meeting was held in a pleasant atmosphere and several issues related to the next general elections had become under discussion. They said that during the meeting PTI's leaders showed their concerns over the current political scenario, especially rumours about possibility of delay in elections. The sources said that the PTI leaders told the TMQ chief that they would not approve any move or act to derail or delay the upcoming scheduled general elections.

During the meeting, the sources said, both the parties' leaders discussed some basic election reforms as demanded by their parties on different occasions in the past. After the meeting, Qadri along with Javed Hashmi and Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a joint press conference in which the TMQ leader told media that dialogue would continue with the PTI because both parties had same objectives. He said that government has failed to fulfil its duties, as there was no implementation of the constitution and masses were deprived of justice.

Qadri said that he would file a petition in the Supreme Court for the reconstitution of the ECP and would accept the court's decision over the issue. He also confirmed that the petition would be filed by his party PAT only. He said that he was going to the Supreme Court because there was no winning or losing there.

"Only the law wins there," he said. Answering queries, the cleric said that after a long time, judiciary and the Pakistan Army were working in favour of democracy, so now the political leadership should also show maturity. He said that he wanted free and transparent elections in the country and considered reformation of the election commission necessary for this, but under current situation it was not being seen possible.

Speaking on the occasion, Javed Hashmi said that the PTI and Qadri had same concerns about the electoral reforms and had reservations over the issues of caretaker setup and constitution of the election commission. Answering a query, Hashmi said that the meeting only discussed reservations, and the final decision regarding the filing of the petition in the Supreme Court by Qadri for the reconstitution of the election commission will be taken by his party.

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi reiterated that his party would not take any step that is extraconstitutional because it did not want democracy derailed. He said that the only way to bring change in the country is through the ballot box, and added that a transparent ECP is crucial for the upcoming elections. Qureshi informed the media that Qadri had explained to him in the meeting that his argument is not about dissolving the election commission, but he considers the constitution of the commission as unconstitutional and unlawful.

End.

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