Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary Information Ahsan Iqbal. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: With Dr Tahirul Qadri gaining strength by the day after giving a call for Jan 14 long march for an impartial caretaker set-up followed by comprehensive electoral reforms, the PML-N strongly believes that he is acting on a well-researched plot to derail democracy.

What worries PML-N’s leaders the most is the increasing support the religious scholar has been receiving since his massive rally on Dec 23 in Lahore, particularly from parties in the ruling coalition.

Initially, it was the PTI and MQM, and now the PML-Q, a major coalition partner of the PPP at the centre, has extended support to Dr Qadri’s call for an impartial caretaker set-up and electoral reforms.

Talking to Dawn, PML-N deputy secretary general Ahsan Iqbal said: “It is a matter of great concern not only for our party but for all democratic forces because Mr Qadri throughout is talking about extra-constitutional measures which will only push us backwards.”

Mr Qadri and his supporters are talking about a change through a protest rally at a time when a truly democratic transition of power is in sight for the first time in the country’s history.

“Had it only been the PTI, the PML-N in particular and people in general wouldn’t have raised any questions. But now the two coalition parties have announced their support for Dr Qadri which is disturbing everybody,” Mr Iqbal said.

“With the two coalition partners of the PPP sitting beside Dr Qadri, the PML-N is bound to get an impression as if President Asif Zardari is behind the whole game plan and he wants to postpone the coming general election,” he said.

And with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan due next year, the PML-N also suspected that some international players might be interested in maintaining status quo in Pakistan, he said “But postponement of the election will be a disaster for the country, maybe leading to bloodshed.”

He said his party was closely watching the fast emerging developments and would take every possible measure to counter them.

Mr Iqbal said that although under the Constitution it was only for the leaders of the house and opposition in the National assembly to decide about selection of the caretaker prime minister, the PML-N would engage all political forces in the process, as it had done before the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

He said there was no hurdle in selection for the caretaker set-up and the process would be completed in accordance with the Constitution.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the PML-Q and MQM were setting new records of political opportunism in the country.

Both the parties had not only worked as cheerleaders for former president Gen Pervez Musharraf but also provided him the much-needed support in parliament for his extra-constitutional acts, he said.

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Comments (9)

January 2, 2013 5:14 am
Dr. Qadri reminds me of 'Anna Hazare' in India. He also protested and wanted some reforms but the storm subsided very quickly.
Nasah (USA)
January 2, 2013 8:29 am
Tahirul Qadri is nowhere near Anna Hazare -- Anna Hazare has a long history of a field fighter against corruption -- where was Qadri all these years -- why this sudden urge to change the system in which he was not even living? He was living in Canada at his own free will -- he was certainly NOT exiled by his corrupt countrymen.
Abdullah Hussain
January 2, 2013 3:59 am
Most of the Pakistanis think that whatever Dr. Qadri has said is correct. He has categorically stated that he is not here to derail democracy rather he believes in true & honest democracy where every single voter has the unique option of exercising his democratic right of voting in accordance with his conscious, he is not forced to stamp the ballot paper according to the wish of his master. Election without prior & proper reform will only produce sham democracy, take away 5 more years from the lives of the poor Pakistanis & further push Pakistan into un-certainty. Dr. Tahirul Qadri's voice cannot be suppressed any more. I think Imran Khan should also announce his party's participation in the great long march. A caretaker govt under the supervision of the supreme court of Pakistan should be formed immediately to address the reservations of all Pakistanis. If the already melted govt is so concerned then it should conduct a public referendum on the points of Dr. Qadri.
Jamshed Khan
January 2, 2013 9:25 am
Mr Qadri and PML-N should not forget that it was Nawaz Sharif who planted Mr Qadri many many years ago, when he was imam of a small mosque.
January 2, 2013 6:25 am
It is Supreme Court's and media's responsibility to act against any unconstitutional steps taken by whomever.
January 2, 2013 5:21 am
PML N worrys about everything that can reduce their number of voters. I wish they had some logical explanation how an impartial caretaker government setup and better election process can derail democracy!
January 2, 2013 3:16 am
Alarming situation for PML-N...
Nasah (USA)
January 2, 2013 8:21 am
Why PPP is silent -- can the PPP come up with the same questions PML(N) is asking about Tahirul Qadri -- who is his sponsor?
Ahmed Nizami
January 9, 2013 1:46 pm
Mr. Qadri’s own organization’s setup is full of dictatorship and family. His articles are different for pakistan and abroad. mostly to sell it to public abroad ..what does minhajul quran got to do with drug abuse, or inter faith dialogue etc… he has been using a good platform that started in Pakistan to extend his own agenda abroad and selling it to the west for funding and support. How can someone who talks about democratic reforms, considers himself leader/chairman for life, and he has the power to veto the entire board!
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