Islamabad Long march called off after reaching agreement
The long march was called off here on Thursday night as the government and Tehreek-e-Minhaj-ul-Quran (TMQ) reached an agreement. The three-page agreement was reached between a ten-member coalition government team, led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, and the TMQ delegation. It was signed by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and TMQ chief Dr Qadri, besides others.
The government delegation also consisted of Qamar Zaman Kaira, Dr FarooqSattar, Syed Khurshid Shah, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Frooq H. Naek, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Babar Ghauri, Abbas Afridi and Afrasiab Khattak, while the TMQ team included Agha Murtaza Poya and Raheeq Abbasi other than Dr Qadri.
The agreement called “Islamabad Long March Declaration” paved the way for calling off the long march, which was attended by thousands of protestors at the Jinnah Avenue here.The long march had started on January 13 from Lahore.
Announcing the agreement, Dr Qadri termed it a success of the people of country and read it in Urdu language. Dr Qadri said that three out of his four demands had been accepted while the one pertaining to the Election Commission of Pakistan would be later settled through talks. Law Minister Farooq H. Naek read the English version of the agreement.
Under the agreement, the National Assembly could be dissolved any time before March 16, so that the general elections could be held within 90 days. The coalition government would nominate two persons of integrity for the slot of caretaker Prime minister in agreement with Pakistan Awami Tehreek. Under the agreement, all cases against TMQ leaders would be quashed.
Following is the text of the agreement:
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 victimization and vendetta against either party, or the participants of the march. This declaration has been entered into in a cordial atmosphere and reconciliatory spirit.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday termed the Islamabad declaration a victory of democracy. “It is the victory of the policy of reconciliation as envisioned by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto,” he stated after reaching an agreement by the government with Chief of Minhaj ul Quran Dr Tahirul Qadri here. “It is the beauty of democracy, “ he said.
He congratulated the whole nation for the agreement which had conveyed Pakistan’s image as a peaceful country to the world. “We are against the corruption, terrorism and extremism,” he added.
Minister of Trade and Commerce Ameen Fahim speaking on the occasion said:“It is the victory of the people of the long march who have been sitting in the cold weather.”He said he had never seen such a peaceful gathering of people. He appreciated the efforts of Tahir ul Qadri for democracy.
Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khurshid Shah said, “It is the victory of the whole nation.”He said that the participants of the long march came from far off places of the country. He said that Islamabad Declaration would be implemented, which would help strengthen democracy.
- Asian Tribune -