People win as agreement signed
Highlights of negotiations
- At 3:53 p.m., a 10-member delegation of the government came to D-Chowk to hold dialogue with Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.
- The hundreds of thousands of participants chanted slogans in favour of Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri when the delegation made its way towards the container.
- The government’s team consisted of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Mushahid Hussain, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Minister for Commerce, Farooq H. Naek, Minister for Law and Justice, Syed Khursheed Shah, Minister for Religious Affairs, Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM leader and Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Afrasiyab Khan Khattak, ANP leader, and Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Commerce.
- Dr Raheeq Abbasi, Secretary General of MQI, welcomed the members of delegation on their arrival in the container.
- Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri condoled the killing of MQM’s provincial legislator Manzar Imam who was assassinated a day before by unknown assailants.
- When Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri made an offer of dialogue to the nation, the thousands of people took to D Chowk.
- The number of participants had increased manifold when the government’s team arrived for negotiation. Majority of the new comers belonged to Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
- Dozens of workers of PTI also attended the Long March and witnessed the proceedings of negotiation.
- When one hour had gone by since the negotiation got underway, renowned anchor Dr Shahid Masood tweeted that Qamar Zaman Kaira apologized for having mimicked Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri. Dr Qadri said: “no issues, you do these things in a good way.”
- The first round of negotiation was halted for prayer break. When Dr Qadri said on mike that discussion had been completed on one of the four points, a great amount of zeal and zest was witnessed among the participants.
- The people were very happy over the start of dialogue. They were glued on to TV screens and continued to make phone calls to get latest information from those attending the march.
- In view of severe winter and rain, MQM dispatched a truckload of tents, eatables, biscuits, water, and juices. The local companies also distributed stuff of daily use among the participants.
- The government and private schools were opened on the fifth day of the Long March.
- At 6:50 p.m. Dr Shahid Masood tweeted that Makdhoom Amin Faheem was listening to talk of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri on ‘Sadiq and Ameen’.
- The successful negotiations between the government and Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri continued for five hours.
- The agreement was sent to the PM House for final approval of the Prime Minister after it was agreed upon by the negotiators.
- Qamar Zaman Kaira, Syed Khursheed Shah and Mushahid Hussain Syed took the agreement for signature of the Prime Minister. He signed the agreement in their presence.
- The agreement was concluded at 9:55 between Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and the government’s team. It was followed by the press conference.
- Before starting the press conference, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri offered Fateha for slain leader of MQM.
- After the conclusion of the press conference, the government’s delegation left the D Chowk at 10:58 p.m.
- After the press conference, Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri declared to end the sit-in and Long March followed by Dua.
- Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said that the future policy of MQI was not final yet. He directed the workers to get their votes prepared at the earliest.
- It was historic Long March in which Dr Qadri spent five days among the participants on the road from January 13 to January 17.
- He established historic record by spending 108 hours among the people.
- The wave of happiness and satisfaction spread across the country after the successful negotiation. The marchers kept on felicitating one another. They also expressed their happiness by dancing.
Press Conference-Islamabad Long March Declaration
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
Addressing the hundreds of thousands of marchers, Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri congratulated the participants of the Long March. He said that it was a great victory of the people who came from different parts of the country for establishment of rule of law, and real democracy. He said that their efforts formed glorious chapter in the annals of history. He said that people needed to be commended for their steadfastness, courage and patience during the course of Long March. He also felicitated the government and its allies who took the matter to its logical conclusion through dialogue in a pleasant and peaceful manner.
Dr Tahir-ul-Qari named every leader present on the occasion and congratulated them individually on their involvement and role in the negotiations. He particularly mentioned the names of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Farooq Naek, Syed Khursheed Shah and Qamar Zaman Kaira who played key role in getting the planned action against marchers aborted. He said that ANP and MQM also played very constructive role in the success of dialogue and frustrating the designs of evil characters.
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (Former PM and President of PML-Q)
In his remarks on the occasion, Chaudrhy Shujaat Hussain, head of the government’s negation team and PML-Q President, said that he prayed to Allah Almighty for success of negotiations after Fajr prayers. He said that no one saw or heard about such a big long march nor would one be organized in future. He said that history would remember this Long March. He congratulated Dr Qadri on this rare success who worked with great wisdom and statesmanship. He said that we did not want repeat of Lal Mosque episode. He said that matters pertaining to the Long March were resolved amicably.
Farooq H Naek (Federal Minister for Law and Justice)
Talking to the participants of the Long March, Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farooq H Naek said that his heart bled at the sight of children, women, and old people braving severely cold and harsh weather. He congratulated the marchers by saying that their just demands had been accepted. He said that not even single leaf was broken during the Long March. He said that Dr Qadri did what he said at the beginning. He congratulated Dr Qadri on his struggle for restoration of democracy in the country.
Farooq Sattar (MQM)
In his speech on the occasion, Dr Farooq Sattar felicitated the marchers on their display of steadfastness and courage. He said that the purpose of the Long March was to establish real and honest democracy, strengthen Pakistan and bring about reforms in the electoral system. He said that the marchers deserved applause and appreciation for putting up such a wonderful and peaceful show. He said that successful Long March should pave the way for elimination of terrorism. He said that terrorism took a toll on the life of Manzar Imam.
Afrasyab Khan Khattack (ANP)
In his remarks on the occasion, the ANP leader congratulated the participants of the Long March on their success. He said that the protection of democracy had been ensured in the country. He said that the Long March would lead to strengthening of democratic system in the country. He said that it also improved Pakistan’s image abroad. He said that his party stood against dictatorship and terrorism adding that ANP stalwart Basher Bilour embraced martyrdom a few weeks ago. He said that we should vow to save democracy from all dangers.
Abbas Khan Afridi
He congratulated the participants of the Long March on their wonderful and peaceful event. He said that it would lead to strengthening of democracy in the country. He said that the day was not far when all of us would tell the world with our heads held high that this was the Pakistan for which we struggled.
Babar Khan Ghauri (MQM)
Speaking to the marchers, Babar Ghauri said that the cause for which people waged struggled had become successful. He congratulated Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and the participants of the March on their success. He said that Pakistan’s image of a peaceful country got promoted in the world. He said that Dr Qadri did what he promised. He said that we would continue to struggle against terrorism.
Qamar Zaman Kaira (PPP)
Expressing his views, Qamar Zaman Kaira felicitated the democracy loving forces, the participants of the Long March and women in particular on victory of democracy. He said that this victory strengthened the foundations of democracy in the country. He added that many phases came when democracy was in great danger. Pointing to the marchers, he said that they were real democrats who struggled for their rights through peaceful means. He said that his friends and he might have made mistakes but in the ultimate analysis, democracy came out victorious. He said that our message to the world was that terrorists assassinated Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto but the real revenge was democracy. He said that the entire nation stood against terrorism. He congratulated Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and the participants of the million march on such an organized show.
Syed Khursheed Shah (PPP)
Speaking on the occasion, senior PPP leader said that it was victory of people. He said that the people, women, and children came to Islamabad from all parts of the country and held an organized protest. He said that people were the mainstay of democracy. He said that it was a day of victory for democracy. He said that the agreement would be implemented in letter and spirit. He felicitated Dr Qadri and the participants of the March on their success.
Talking to the marchers, Dr Qadri said that media deserved the real praise and appreciation. He said that media men, reporters, photographers and anchors travelled with him for 38 hours from Lahore to Islamabad and stayed there in D Chowk for five days. He said that his message reached 180 million people through these people. He again congratulated local and foreign media on supporting the cause of the marchers.
Mushahid Hussain Syed (PML-Q)
In his views on the occasion, Mushahid Hussain said that the women participated in the Long March. It was manifestation of Pakistan’s real image and sovereignty. He told the marchers that Dr Qadri and he worked together as lecturers in Punjab University. He said that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri had revived Quaid-e-Azam’s and Mohtarama Fatima Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan. He congratulated all of the participants on their achievements.
Islamabad Long March Declaration
Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri presented the Islamabad Long March Declaration in front of media. He said that it had become great agreement in the history of Pakistan’s democracy. He said that all decisions were taken unanimously and the agreement was signed on January 17, 2013. Ten people represented the government who were present with him. He told that a three-member delegation got the approval of the Prime Minister on the decisions taken in the agreement. He said that legislatures, which were set to be dissolved on March 16, would now be dissolved any time before March 16 to allow for conduct of elections within 90 days. He said that this was contentious issue and consumed a lot of time. But now the consensus had finally emerged that elections would be held within 90 days.
Dr Qadri said that it was for the first time in Pakistan’s history that 30 days out of 90 days would be allocated for the purpose of scrutinizing candidatures of those interested to contest polls. He said that scrutiny would be conducted under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Those who would not meet the criterion of these articles would stand disqualified from the electoral process.
He said that it was also agreed upon that unless a candidate got clearance from all organizations, he would not be able to start election campaign.
It was agreed that the ruling party would hold discussions with Pakistan Awami Tehreek on the name of caretaker Prime Minister and put forward his name only when consensus was reached between them.
There are certain legal and constitutional difficulties on the matter of dissolution of the Election Commission. There was a need to get expert opinion of lawyers on the matter. A meeting would be held in the central secretariat of MQI on January 27 to further discuss this issue in detail. Dr Qadri said that it was his request that all meetings should be held in the MQI secretariat, which was accepted by all parties. He thanked them for this.
He said that the first meeting in this regard would be held on January 27 at 12 p.m. in the central secretariat of MQI. He said that the issue would be discussed with the Minister for Law and other constitutional experts and a way would be found out. He told that those who would be consulted on this issue would include S.M. Zafar, Waseem Sajjad, and Sentaor Ch Aitzaz Ahsan.
All reforms agreed upon in the negotiations would be implemented in the upcoming polls and all candidates would have to go through scrutiny process under Article 62, 63 and 218 of the Constitution. The relevant clauses of People’s Representation Act would also be implemented. The Supreme Court’s directions about electoral reforms would also be implemented in both letter and spirit and the elections would be held accordingly.
It was also agreed that all cases filed against each other during the Long March would be withdrawn immediately and no legal action would be taken against the administration and the participants of the March.
Dr Qadri said that the agreement was reached amicably which bore the signatures of the Prime Minister, the government’s team and Chairman PAT.
The President of Pakistan called during the negotiation process. He was also taken into confidence on the contents of the agreement. After his approval, it was signed by the Prime Minister.
Farooq H Naek
In his remarks, the Minister for Law and Justice said that it was victory of democracy and constitution on which he felicitated all the participants. He also paid glowing tributes to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who laid down her life for the cause of democracy. He said that Shaheed BB was life time member of MQI. He read out the English text of the agreement at the end.