By Our CorrespondentPublished: January 14, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Dr Tahirul Qadri whose march was rolling towards the capital has conveyed a few
demands to the government, with sacking of election commission featuring as the
first and foremost.
Qadri, who has vowed to make public his other demands in the federal capital,
wants immediate installation of an interim setup acceptable to all stakeholders
and implementation of articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution that set a strict criteria
for individuals to be eligible to contest elections.
Sources said the government team headed by Chaudhry Shujaat that held many rounds
of talks with Dr. Qadri had conveyed him some positive signals that it was ready
to negotiate. But the government considers as ‘unconstitutional’ his demand of dissolving
the election commission.
“There is no other way except bringing an amendment to the constitution with
a two-thirds majority,” a cabinet member said.
In the existing constitution there are two provisions to remove ECP hierarchy:
either any of the four members and the chief election commissioner resign on their
own or through a Supreme Court reference.
The long march, which was overshadowed by the countrywide protests against killings
of Hazara community in Quetta, is likely to enter the capital on Monday afternoon
Minhajul Quran’s long march and countrywide protests of the Shia community have
almost paralysed cities and towns across the country. Political pundits are predicting
important changes in the next few days and fear that the situation could go out
of hand if the federal government failed to act prudently.
Interior Minister Rehman Mailk has claimed that district administration of the
federal capital has inked a written agreement with Minhajul Quran officials that
they would not go beyond the venue reserved for them by the administration. However,
the local chapter of Minhajul Quran and its central leadership have denied reaching
any such agreement.
Dr. Rafeeq Abbasi, Qadri’s key aide told The Express Tribune that no such decision
had been taken.
According Ibrar Raza, president of Islamabad chapter of Minhajul Quran, followers
of Dr. Qadri from areas adjoining the federal capital will start gathering in Islamabad
in huge numbers from Monday morning.
Besides official security personnel, around 10,000 workers of Minhajul Quran
will provide security services to the long march including 5,000 local volunteers,
Some 400 workers are preparing the stage for leadership of the long march, he
The stage is being erected with eight 20-foot containers.
Minhajul Quran wanted to set the stage in D-Chowk tonight but the capital administration
had been restricting them and persuading them to set it up some two kilometres away
from the highly sensitive area.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2013.