By Our CorrespondentPublished: January 3, 2013
Insists there are no plans to ‘derail democracy’. PHOTO: EXPRESS/ FILE
KARACHI: While reiterating his vow to turn Islamabad into the “world’s largest Tahrir
Square,” Minhajul Quran International (MQI) chief Tahirul Qadri said that any discussions,
appointments or announcements concerning a caretaker government before his long
march scheduled for January 14 will not be accepted.
Qadri was addressing a press conference at Khawaja House on Wednesday.
“We want a caretaker government which is totally impartial, powerful and honest
and we are open to discussions with everybody, including the president and the prime
minister to achieve this end – but not before the long march,” he said.
“This long march will not stop with discussions or negotiations,” said Qadri,
a Canadian national who has recently returned to Pakistan.
Qadri dispelled the notion that the movement was to pave way for becoming the
caretaker prime minister himself; he added that he had no agenda to derail the democratic
system. “A few politicians have been spreading this propaganda that our agenda is
to sack the democratic system, but this is not true as we believe in restoration
of clean politics,” he said. “Elections should happen but only after electoral reforms.”
While stating his vision, Qadri said that the struggle accounts for bringing
middle-class, ‘educated people’ to Parliament in place of those with a feudal mindset.
To him, an electoral system like that of India is required in the country where
complaints for rigging result in abrupt corrective measures, he added.
Qadri said it was futile to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan with
suggestions of electoral reforms as law-making is not in the commission’s purview.
“If a complaint of rigged polls is registered at the election commission, it is
ultimately forwarded to the courts which then take five years to pass a verdict,”
In reply to a question, Qadri termed his visit to Karachi as “very successful”
that resulted in a ‘bonding’ with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. “I hope, together
we both will achieve the objective,” he declared.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2013.