ISLAMABAD: Minhajul Quran International (MQI) leader Tahirul Qadri outlined four demands during his address in Islamabad on Wednesday and set a one-day deadline for them to be fulfilled.
The demands were to announce electoral reforms before elections, to dissolve the election commission and form a new one, to not allow muk muka of two parties in caretaker setup and to dissolve the provincial and national assemblies.
Govt delegation offers help to MQI
A three-member government delegation decided to meet MQI to provide food, shelter and blankets for the women and children participating in the long march, reported Express News.
The MQI administration, however, refused to accept the government’s offer and said that their march was well-organised.
Qadri, in his early morning address, denounced all allegations of a conspiracy in yesterday’s unexpected turn of events and criticised those who were suspecting the Supreme Court’s intentions.
He was referring to allegations that propped up after the Supreme Court ordered Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s arrest moments after Qadri’s address.
In contrast to yesterday’s fiery address, the leader was much calmer today.
With reference to the incident, Qadri said: “They say I knew [about the SC’s decision]. Honestly, I did not even know that the [rental power plants case] hearing was taking place.”
He criticised all those who were saying the incident was too much of a coincidence and was actually a well-planned conspiracy and told them to have shame before suspecting the judiciary’s intent.
On democracy and elections
“I do not want to derail democracy,” said Qadri. “I just want to bring it on the right track.”
“Who says we want to delay elections? I want them to take place within 90 days, but with corrections according to the constitution,” he said.
Qadri claimed the required reforms would take a mere 30 days.
“You need political will, sincerity of cause, ability, courage, vision, commitment to the constitution and law of the land and loyalty to the true principles of democracy to enable the reforms,” he added.
Protesters rally on
Protesters rallied for a third day in the largest political demonstration seen for years in the capital, calling on the government to quit after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister.
Tens of thousands of followers of Pakistani-Canadian Tahir-ul Qadri massed near parliament house, where they were dug in for the long haul with stocks of food and bedding.
A general election is due to be held by mid-May, but Qadri wants parliament dissolved immediately and a caretaker government set up in consultation with the military and the judiciary, to implement key reforms before the polls are held.
[WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP AND WEB DESK]