Pakistan’s opposition parties have announced that they will resist any “extra-constitutional changes” in the country and will support the government and the Election Commision in holding general elections later this year.
Opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif told a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday that the goverment should announce an election schedule “as soon as possible” and announce the formation of an interim set-up ahead of the elections.
Sharif was accompanied at the press conference by representatives of most political parties.
In the meantime, Minhajul Quran International (MQI) leader Tahirul Qadri, whose sit-down protest in Islamabad continues, outlined four demands during his address 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 compromise between two political parties in a proposed caretaker set-up and to dissolve the provincial and national assemblies.
In response, information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira questioned their credibility.
“He wants the government, assemblies, parliament and the election commission to be dissolved and then get the caretaker government to himself… But if all these things are dissolved, then how will new things be formed?” he said at a press briefing.
However, the points raised by Qadri have found sympathy even within the main political players of the country.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement says it supports Qadri “in principle” because he talks of taxing rich landlords and bringing some sort of accountability for politicians.
Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf supports Qadri’s demand to change the set-up of the election commission and to examine politicians before they are allowed to stand for office.