FAISALABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Wednesday said that Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri should first clarify his position whether he would contest election or not.
Speaking to media representatives after offering condolence on demise of Information Secretary Rashid Ahmed’s mother at his residence, he said Qadri had expressed his intention of not contesting the election so he was not a stakeholder in the democratic system.
Kaira said holding of public processions and debates was the constitutional right, however, no one would be allowed to breach law.
Kaira reiterated the government will complete its constitutional tenure on March 16, adding that formation of the caretaker government would then follow.
“Election process would be completed within 60 days after formation of the caretaker government…the polls would be held before May 16.”
Elaborating the criteria of forming the caretaker set up, the minister said Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition will nominate candidate for the prime ministerial slot and if they fail to evolve consensus on it, then the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would decide the same.
He said the government and the opposition are representatives of the people and only they had the right to decide about the caretaker set up. However, he added, the caretaker prime minister should be a politician.
Commenting on Jan 14 Long March proposed by Tahirul Qadri, Kaira said there is no room for unconstitutional steps as a lot of improvements had already been made in the Constitution.
“People would never support any unconstitutional demand of any individual as it would be treacherous,” he said.
The information minister said in the presence of independent judiciary, free media, political parties and civil society, no one can even think about taking unconstitutional steps, adding that in democracy nothing could be imposed by using force.
He said staging sit-ins and notions of Tahrir Square-like uprisings suited only to those countries where the people did not have any say, but in Pakistan the government and the judiciary were there to listen to their issues.
He said the government had always been promoting political reconciliation and successfully restored the Constitution in its original form despite lacking majority in the Parliament.
Kaira said the armed forces had already clarified their position regarding the long march of Qadri, adding the army has played vital role for strengthening of democracy and “we should appreciate sacrifices rendered by the Pakistan Army.”