Federal Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira on Saturday advised Minhajul Quran International (MQI)’s head Dr Tahirul Qadri to approach the Election Commission of Pakistan if he had any suggestions or reservations about the elections “like all political parties do”.
He was talking to reporters after a cake cutting ceremony to mark the 85th birth anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) founder.
He suggested that Qadri get voted into the parliament and then talk about change.
Kaira did not rule out ‘negotiating’ with Qadri. “If the PPP can talk with the Taliban then why not with Qardi?” he said. He asked Qadri to make up his mind whether or not he wanted to take part in the elections.
The federal government, he said, wanted to make the ECP more powerful “but the only way [to do that] is through the parliament”. He asked why Qadri was insisting that the commission amend its rules when it couldn’t do so.
Kaira said that though everyone had a right to protest, action could be taken against anybody who took the law in his hands. “Qadri should keep in mind that he might paralyse the state’s functions by his long march,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2013.