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Lawmakers point all cannons at Tahirul Qadri

04 January, 2013

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LAHORE: Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Thursday that nobody was threatened by Tahirul Qadri's proposed long march.

Replying to questions at a media briefing after the cabinet meeting, the minister, without naming any department, said that despite a track record of involvements in the past, the quarters concerned have clarified that they had no link with Qadri's threat. He further said that the MQM or any other party, referring to the PML-Q, were coalition partners and not part of the PPP, and they can chose their own course of action.

The minister added that if a large number of people do come to the federal capital for the proposed march, there would be certain infrastructure and social issues. "But the majority of the participants of the rally would be coming from Punjab and it is necessary for the provincial government to act responsibly too," he said without clearly identifying the role Punjab government should play in this situation. Kaira also said that Qadri should be part of the system, and his statement regarding legislation by the Election Commission was out of context.

"Recommendations made by the political parties to the election commission are forwarded through the relevant channel to the parliament for lawmaking," he said, adding that Qadri should forward his recommendations regarding reforms to the election commission. He said that the next election will be held after March 16 and before May 15 or 16, as per the constitutional requirement. "Regarding the appointment of a caretaker government we will discuss it with the leader of the opposition at appropriate time."

Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of aisle in Senate, except the MQM, joined hands against Qadri for what they called his unconstitutional plans to derail democracy under the garb of electoral reforms' demand and cautioned against delay in elections saying such acts pose grave threat to the federation.

Although MQM's Col (r) Tahir Mashhadi asserted that his party does not want to detrack democracy through its support to Qadri's agenda, but he did not join the chorus in criticising him. The PML-Q lawmakers also remained silent, except for a brief intervention by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed during the speech of Hasil Khan Bazenjo when he explained that PML-Q leaders had met Qadri because of old terms with him.

PML-N's Senator Mushahiddulah Khan dubbed Dr Qadri as a "joker and liar". He was later endorsed by Hasil Bazenjo who claimed that the Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief wanted to disturb the democratic system of the country. Mushahid said that a person who does not meet the criteria to contest elections was pressing for electoral reforms, and referred to Qadri's dual nationality and a court order that declared him a liar in a case.

He even called upon the two political parties that have extended support to Dr Qadri to review their decisions, saying it would be tantamount to treason with the constitution. PPP's stalwart Senator Mian Raza Rabbani was more critical of Qadri and cautioned that if the federation is to be kept intact, then elections must be held as per the schedule. He even rejected talks of taking army and judiciary on board for formation of a caretaker setup and termed it unconstitutional, saying that army officials are under oath to keep away from politics.

Separately, challenging Qadri's doctrine, the treasury and opposition in the Punjab Assembly got united for the first time on Thursday with all their political spirit against anti-democratic forces and their conspiracies and unanimously passed a resolution, urging the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold elections on time. Members from both the benches also demanded that the government arrest Qadri and register an FIR, under Article 6 of the constitution of Pakistan, against him over violation and disrespect of 25 articles of the constitution.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday said the Pakistan People's Party-led coalition government will not let any one derail democracy in the country. "The coalition government is going to complete its tenure and is heading towards elections," the prime minister told his cabinet members in a meeting held here at the PM House. Raja said the government considers elections as "Amanat" (trust) which will be conducted in accordance with the constitution.

End.

Reader Comments:

Let it all be peaceful for Paks

In democracy, we can express opinion. But, it should be all peaceful and sans voilence. Pakistan needs very conducive peaceful environment within as some mighty foreign powers have hell bent agenda to destabilize our dear country in a well planned scheme to take out our main peace insurance that are our nukes. Without those nukes, Pakistan faces adversary India with 10 to 1 edge in economy with six times as many people.

Let us all make sure that we stay within threshold of complete internal peace. Nothing is more important than seeing our Pakistan living in peace within and on its borders.

We can express opinions, but should not forget that our country should allways stay very peaceful. Pakistan is very lovely country with very sweet and beautiful people. Let us all keep Pakistan at peace regardless of marches, which must be peaceful like Nawaz Sharif long yet short lived march not long ago.

LET US KEEP OUR DEAR PAKISTAN STABLE AND PEACEFUL.

A.M.Rogers, - 04 January, 2013

god knows best

1) After reading this article and the comments of Information Minister and others, I can tell people this. I have worked in hospitals almost 10 years now, and just because a doctor tells a patient he/she will die or live - does not mean that is what will happen. They are often wrong, as are politicians. Only Allah knows. Current government leaders can say and predict all they want but many things will happen outside of their expectations.

2) These claims being made over and over that Tahirul Qadri is trying to "derail" democracy or elections or trying to set up a position for himself in government or being the hand puppet of a foreign interest are SO ridiculous and anti-everything Qadri has ever taught that it makes me think the current government officials KNOW that their time of doing wrongs is coming to an end so they are desperately trying to slander Qadri!

Khadija, - 05 January, 2013

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