Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the defection of a few Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentarians to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was a violation of the Charter of Democracy (CoD), which he said should be discouraged.
Speaking to a private television channel on Friday, Kaira said that according to a CoD clause, it was agreed that both parties would refrain from approaching each other’s members. PML-N had also breached the mandate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), he added.
“Their defection was already declared, which is unfortunate. Mian brothers (Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif) are playing power politics and using force against protesting doctors and government servants,” Kaira claimed.
The information minister said the media and political parties should play their role in discouraging defections ahead of the elections. Politicking is the negation of rules and doctrines as it will spoil the national politics, he said.
Speaking on the caretaker government setup, he said both the national and provincial assemblies would be dissolved by the middle of March to pave way for the elections. A decision regarding the caretaker prime minister will be made in consultation between the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. If a consensus cannot be reached, then the matter will be taken up by a special committee, he added.
Replying to a question, Kaira said the government successfully patronised its strategy against the Taliban when militants have challenged the writ of the state.
He added that the government had followed the policy of dialogue, development and deterrence to fight against militants with full support of the nation.
The information minister reiterated that the government would fully support any dialogue with Taliban and other militants groups if they renounced violence.
Referring to PML-N’s policies, Kaira said Nawaz was following a prudent one, but Shahbaz was going in the wrong direction. “The PML-N is confused because in the past, it had contested the election using the state power and enjoying the backing of certain institutions,” he said.
He stated that instead of addressing the grievances of the people of South Punjab and providing them their basic rights, the PML-N was doling out funds for the modernisation of Lahore. “Whenever the PPP raises its voice for the rights of South Punjab people, the PML-N takes it as a conspiracy,” Kaira said.
Kaira believed Nawaz’s policies could bring about a positive change in politics and stabilise the country. “However, his brother Shahbaz Sharif is following the policy of opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that can only destabilise the institutions.”
The PPP-led government tried its best to deliver during the past five years, Kaira reiterated. Recounting its achievements, he said thousands of contract workers were regularised, employees’ salaries were doubled besides devolving powers to provinces and restoring the 1974 Constitution to its original democratic form.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2013.