Pak National Assembly to be dissolved before March 16: Kaira

Pak National Assembly to be dissolved before March 16: Kaira

Pakistan's National Assembly will be dissolved before March 16 and the date for the next general election will be announced in the coming ten days, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said today.

"The National Assembly will be dissolved before March 16 and elections be held within 90 days," Kaira told reporters after a team of federal ministers and leaders of parties in the ruling coalition met cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri to discuss electoral reforms.

"The dates for the dissolution of assemblies and the election will be announced in 10 days," Kaira said.

He said the government would consult Dr Qadri's Pakistan Awami Tehrik party on appointing the caretaker premier and chief ministers of provinces.

The government team, led by PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, discussed at length the legal aspects of an agreement that was signed with Qadri to end his sit-in protest outside parliament earlier this month.

Kaira said the two sides had reached consensus on certain points. However, Kaira said there was no consensus on Qadri's demand for the dissolution of the Election Commission.

"The Election Commission cannot be undone under the Constitution," he said. Without naming anyone, Kaira said all democratic forces were united to thwart any effort to delay the polls.

Qadri, who heads the Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran and has a huge following across Pakistan, said he might move the Supreme Court on the issue of dissolving the Election Commission as its composition was "unconstitutional".

He said he had no problems with the Chief Election Commissioner but claimed the four other members of the panel were appointed in violation of procedures laid down in the Constitution.

He claimed legal cover would be given to his agreement with the government before dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies. Qadri demanded that the powers of the premier and chief ministers to use discretionary funds should be frozen forthwith.

"Pre-poll rigging is being committed through diversion of funds in the constituencies of the ruling elite," he claimed. He further demanded a 50 per cent subsidy on electricity, wheat, rice, tea, sugar and oil to provide relief to the people.