Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri on Tuesday announced his decision not to contest Pakistan’s upcoming general elections.
The Canadian-Pakistani cleric led thousands of people to Islamabad last week, protesting for electoral reforms. However, he called off the four-day sit-in after the federal government decided to accept some of his demands.
He noted, “Even if Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) takes part in the elections, neither I nor any of my family members will take part in the elections.”
Explaining that his family members are legally qualified to take part in the elections, Qadri said this is a symbolic decision taken to “promote democracy” within the party. He said that some people did not wish that reforms take place in Pakistan, which he said was the reason that the masses were being disillusioned by the democratic process.
The MQI chief recently reached a deal with the ruling coalition which will give his party some say over the formation of a caretaker government ahead of elections this spring.
As a part of the deal, the firebrand cleric will also host a meeting between constitutional experts and political parties’ leaders to find a way to reform the Election Commission of Pakistan.
On the other hand, Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday announced three conditions on behalf of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) to trump Qadri’s recent agreement with the government which allows Qadri to host a political parties’ meeting for the reformation of Election Commission of Pakistan and to play role in the formation of caretaker setup for the coming general elections.
The demands put forth by Nisar include early elections, only a month’s time for the scrutiny of the election candidates and finally consideration of caretaker setup candidates from Balochistan and Sindh.
The leader of the opposition said that the current government will not meet Qadri’s demands until their demands were met first.