Dawn News

Qamar Zaman Kaira- File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will not hold an early general election, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said Thursday, insisting the current government would see out its term, which ends in March.

A long-running legal wrangle with the Supreme Court over corruption allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari has already led to one prime minister being thrown out of office and there has been speculation the festering row could force early polls. But information minister Kaira said the coalition government led by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) would complete its term.

“The government will complete its tenure on March 18, 2013 after which a caretaker government will be formed,” Kaira told reporters in Islamabad.

“Elections will be held accordingly on due time and we want them to be transparent.”If it lasts until March, the government will become the first elected administration in decades to complete a full five-year term.

The minister appreciated ECP's decision to continue consultation with political parties for evolving a mechanism for holding free and fair elections.

"Caretaker government will be in place well on time and every effort will be made to evolve consensus,” he informed media in front of Election Commission of Pakistan after ECP's meeting with political parties.

The minister appreciated ECP's decision to continue consultation with political parties for evolving a mechanism for holding free and fair elections.

He reiterated the government's resolve to provide technical support to ECP for holding free and fair elections. “Whatever responsibility the Commission will assign to the government, we shall fulfill it.”

Answering a question about formation of caretaker government, the minister said, opposition had leaked couple of names and 'you are well aware about comments of Sardar Ata Ullah Mengal on their proposal. “If anybody acts like that just for point scoring, it meets the similar fate as in the case of Ata Ullah Mengal.”

He said this Parliament and the government will complete their tenure on March 18, 2013 and consultation process should continue for caretaker set up well on time. “Consultation is a constitutional requirement and we will consult our allies, opposition parties and even those parties who do not have representation in the Parliament.”

Under Pakistan's constitution, when the mandate ends a caretaker administration has to be appointed to hold a general election within 90 days.

Credibility of ECP

When asked about credibility of the commission, Kaira said, he and his party had no doubt on credibility of Election Commission. “This is a state institution and all parties have to trust it. However, there are some capacity issues and the Commission and political parties are discussing it. We do not have any doubt on credibility of the Commission.”

The minister said the government always opted to resolve issues through consultation even when there was tension and reaffirmed to resolve the matter of caretaker government with consensus.

“If we could not evolve consensus, then there is laid down constitutional procedure for putting in place caretaker set up. There is nothing to worry about it,” he said.

Dual-national lawmakers

To a question about representation of dual nationality holders in the Parliament, the minister said, Overseas Pakistanis are more patriotic than anybody else and always keep thinking about the welfare of the country.

But, it is decision of the court and the constitution that they cannot be members of the Parliament.

“It is beyond perception that dual nationality holders can be part of executive, judiciary, bureaucracy, security agencies, foreign office and nuclear program, but they cannot be members of the Parliament,” he stated.

On the issue of false declaration, Kaira said, the government respects decision of Supreme Court and Election Commission. But he observed that around 90 percent MPs could have not studied the provisions of article 62 and 63 in detail at the time of filing declaration.

“My observation is that whether this mistake was committed by fault or deliberately. If any member filed false declaration mistakenly, then I feel that it should be looked into,” he said.

Comments (7) Closed

Sep 27, 2012 02:56pm
Great. Another 6 months of corruption, chaos and incompetence. Thanks Mr. Kaira for this 'wonderful' news.
Muhammad Tahir Jamali
Sep 27, 2012 10:26am
Mr. Kaira should go to Supreme Court and get guidance. Political Statements are not enough to make fool of General Public.
Sachal Lakhwani
Sep 27, 2012 04:28pm
Sir, if you don't read something before signing a document under oath, it can't be someone else's fault. All such people who commited a fraud should be held accountable and imprisoned for perjury.
Akmal Qabal
Sep 27, 2012 12:01pm
I'm not a PPP fan but have to agree that we as Pakistanis need to be patient and learn how to follow the rules. People will hopefully think before casting their vote in the coming election, keeping in mind that they are electing a 5 year government. Our elections are usually all about rhetoric and are a Dynastic affair. Only a regular, free and fair election process can help us evolve our democratic values, they can't be enforced upon us by Generals or Judges.
Truth Hurts
Sep 27, 2012 12:41pm
90 percent MPs could have not studied the provisions of article 62 and 63 in detail at the time of filing declaration, if it is true than FOR SURE PAKISTAN is in dangerous hands.... However, the remarks are to cover one person which is understood.....has to go and a new face is required as the person failed in preserving the institutional responsibility.....i.e, law and order. It is actually a face save if quits on this order....
Sep 27, 2012 02:10pm
If people want to become lawmakers, they should be read and write. Saying they did not understand or have time to read the rules is eye wash and not an answer worthy of a government minister.
Sep 27, 2012 11:59am