ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said Thursday the caretaker government will be installed on March 18 as that is when the Parliament and government’s tenure ends.
He was talking to the media about the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) meeting underway in Islamabad.
Earlier, the ECP had invited 15 main stream political parties for a consultative meeting for today to clear its position and remove any apprehensions on the preparedness of the commission for holding general elections.
“March 18 is the parliament’s term [end] and on the same day, the government’s term will end too; therefore, the caretaker government is to be installed on March 18,” said the minister.
On whether disagreements would delay the caretaker setup, he said that till now, everything had been done with consensus and this would hold true for the caretaker setup as well, adding that if consensus was not possible, there was a constitutional procedure present for it.
“There will be no delays in elections because of this [disagreement],” said Kaira, adding that neither the government nor the opposition would be able to take advantage from it either.
PPP caretaker candidates
When questioned about the government’s candidates for the caretaker setup, Kaira lashed out at the Opposition’s decision to name candidates in advance. He said that consultations with all parties would be held when the time comes.
Deploring Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s decision to name candidates, Kaira said: “If you want meaningful consultations, they will be conducted on time but if you want point-scoring, you can do it six months earlier.”
Kaira assured that the government would cooperate with the ECP wherever it was needed as the government too wanted free and fair elections for the country.
Of expatriates and dual nationals
On issues of overseas Pakistanis, Kaira said, “I believe overseas Pakistanis think more about Pakistan than we do,” but added that it was a constitutional and judicial decision that barred them from their right to vote.
Kaira said that he could not understand why dual nationals “should not be allowed to legislate but be allowed execution [of it], to sit in the bureaucracy, in the judiciary to make decisions, to sit in the security agencies of the country, to work on this country’s nuclear assets and in the Foreign Office.”
“But this is a constitutional requirement and our heads are bowed because of it,” he added.
After the meeting, Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) Mushahid Hussain informed the media that his party had given some recommendations to the election commission.
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