Govt accepts Qadri’s demands, sit-in ends

Friday, January 18, 2013

Islamabad—The sit-in of the Tehreek Minhajul Quran ended after the agreement with federal government on the fulfillment of demands. The agreement has been given the name of “Islamabad Long March Declaration”. According to the agreement the assemblies would definitely be dissolved prior to the 16th March and elections would be held within 90 days. One month time would be given for the scrutiny of the nomination papers by Election Commission under Articles 62, 63 of the constitution.

No candidate would be allowed to start election campaign prior to the clearance by election commission. The suggestions of TMQ regarding the caretaker prime minister would be accepted by government. According to the agreement as there are constitutional hurdles for the reconstruction of the Election Commission a meeting would be held at head office of the TMQ in Lahore on 27 January. The meeting would consider possibility of the reconstruction of EC. The committee headed by the Law Minister would be including Aitzaz Ahsan, Wasim Sajjad, Dr Khalid Ranjah, SM Zafffar, Latif Afridi, Farogh Nasim, Humayn Ahsan, the elections would be held under people’s representation act 1976. The 8 June 2012 judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the electoral reforms would be implemented in letter and spirit. It was also agreed that all the cases registered during the long march would be withdrawn and no one would be victimized. Dr Tahirul Qadri announced the declaration in Urdu by spontaneous translations of the original text in English.

Law Minister Farooq Hameed Naek read out the agreement in English. He said “today is the day of the success of democracy in the country”, adding that it was the dream of the late Benazir Bhutto.

The declaration was announced after the signatures of the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. The Prime Minister held telephonic conversation with President Zardari to take him into confidence regarding the agreement with TMQ. President gave his approval of the agreement.

President Zardari congratulated the negotiating team of the government. The government team continuously kept informing the president and prime minister about the progress of the negotiations. After the acceptance of the demands of Dr Qadri the participants of the long march chanted slogans of change in country.

Talks between Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain led teams began at the 4:50 PM Thursday and continued till 8:50. Tahirul Qadri paid rich tribute to national and international media for its contribution to the success of long march.

The government team headed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain included Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Farooq Hameed Naek, Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Babar Ghauri, Senator Afrasayab Khattack, Syed Khurshid Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Mushahid Hussain Syed and Senator Abbass Afridi.

While addressing the participants of long march Dr Tahirul Qadri congratulated the participants for showing great vigour, and resolve which resulted in the success of the long marchers. He said that long march culminated in its success. He said that the country has not seen such huge march in its history. He criticized Rehman Malik without naming him for his actions and statements. Dr Qadri thanked all the members of the negotiating team as well as Prime Minister and the President in making the agreement possible.

While addressing the participants of the long march Shauhdry Shujaat Hussain said that the nation has not seen such huge long march in the history of the country and would not see such long march in future, adding that with the blessings of Almighty Allah Lal Masjid like incident was averted.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim congratulated the participants of the long march over successful long march, adding that struggle of the marchers for democracy is appreciable. He said that it was agonizing to see the women and children sitting in the open facing bitter cold weather.

Dr Farooq Sattar paid rich tribute to the struggle of Tahirul Qadri, adding that MQM MPA Manzar Imam was killed in terrorist act, adding I pay rich tribute to the struggle of Manzar Imam. Farooq Sattar said that Manzar Imam rendered life ending the terrorism in the country. He said that ending of terrorism is the important point of the long macrh.

Senator Afrasayab Khattack said that the Pakistanis are peaceful people, adding that today is an important day for the democratic system in the country, adding that the ANP is the party of workers. He said that the bullets of the terrorists would be ended but we will not accept defeat.

Senator Abbass Afridi said that with the support and efforts of president and other leader this time has come, adding that leadership proved that the democracy would continue in country. Senator Babar Ghauri congratulated the participants of the long march over their peaceful struggle.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira congratulated the participants of the long march and nation over the success of long march, adding that democracy faced also difficulties in past. He said today is the day of success for Dr Qadri, government and whole nation. He said that this is the success of reconciliation policy of late Benazir Bhutto. He said that we are against terrorism and extremism and we all are against the corruption. He also hailed the peaceful struggle of participants.

Syed Khurshid Shah said today is the day of success for all, adding that democracy is the real power of government, adding that the masses are the real strength in country. Mushahid Hussain Syed congratulated the participants of long march and paid rich tribute to the women participants of the long march. He said the agreement will pave the way for building Pakistan accordance with Quaid-i-Azam’s vision.

Following is the text of Long March Islamabad Declaration:

1) The National Assembly shall be dissolved at any time before March 16, 2013, (due date), so that the elections may take place within 90 days. One month will be given for scrutiny of nomination papers for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution so that the eligibility of the candidates is determined by the Election Commission of Pakistan. No candidate would be allowed to start the election campaign until pre-clearance on his/her eligibility is given by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

2) The treasury benches in complete consensus with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) will propose names of two honest and impartial persons for appointment as Caretaker Prime Minister.

3) Issue of composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be discussed at the next meeting on Sunday, January 27, 2013, 12 noon at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat. Subsequent meetings, if any, in this regard will also be held at the Central Secretariat of Minhaj-ul-Quran in Lahore. In pursuance to the agreement, the Law Minister will convene a meeting of the following lawyers: S M Zafar, Waseem Sajjad, Aitzaz Ahsan, Farough Naseem, Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranjha and Hamayoun Ahsan, to discuss these issues. Prior to the meeting of January 27, the Law Minister, Mr Farooq H Naek, will report the results of this legal consultation to the January 27 meeting.

4) Electoral Reforms: It was agreed upon that the focus will be on the enforcement of electoral reforms prior to the polls on: (A). Articles 62, 63 and 218 (3) of the Constitution.

(B). Section 77 to 82 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act 1976 and other relevant provisions relating to conducting free, fair, just and honest elections guarded against all corrupt practices.

(C). The Supreme Court Judgement of June 8, 2012 on constitutional petition of 2011 must be implemented in toto and in true letter and spirit.

5) With the end of the long march and sit-in, all cases registered against each other shall be withdrawn immediately and there will be no act of victimisation and vendetta against either party, or the participants of the march. This declaration has been entered into in a cordial atmosphere and reconciliatory spirit. Signatories of the declaration: Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf; Chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri; Leader of the delegation and former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain; Law Minister Farooq H Naek; Makhdoom Amin Fahim, PPPP; Syed Khursheed Shah, PPPP; Qamar Zaman Kaira, PPPP; Mushahid Hussain, PML-Q; Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM; Babar Ghauri, MQM; Afrasiab Khattak, ANP; and Senator Abbas Afridi, FATA.

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