Following decisions were unanimously arrived at; having been taken today, 17 January 2013, in the meeting which was participated by coalition parties delegation led by Chaudry Shujaat Hussain including:
1) Makdoom Amin Fahim, PPP
2) Syed Khursheed Shah, PPPP
3) Qamar ur Zama Qaira, PPPP
4) Farooq H Naik, PPPP
5) Mushahid Hussain, PML-Q
6) Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM
7) Babar Ghauri, MQM
8) Afrasiab Khattak, ANP
9) Senator Abbas Afridi, FATA
With the founding leader of Minhaj-ul-Quran International (MQI) and chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri.
1) The National Assembly shall be dissolved at any time before March 16, 2013, (due date), so that the elections may take place within the 90 days. One month will be given for scrutiny of nomination paper for the purpose of pre-clearance of the candidates under article 62 and 63 of the constitution so that the eligibility of the candidates is determined by the Elections Commission of Pakistan. No candidate would be allowed to start the election campaign until pre-clearance on his/her eligibility is given by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
2) The treasury benches in complete consensus with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) will propose names of two honest and impartial persons for appointment as Caretaker Prime Minister.
3) Issue of composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan will be discussed at the next meeting on Sunday, January 27, 2013, 12 noon at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat. Subsequent meetings if any in this regard will also be held at the central secretariat of Minhaj-ul-Quran in Lahore. In pursuance to todays’ decision, the Law Minister will convene a meeting of the following lawyers: S. M. Zafar, Waseem Sajjad, Aitizaz Ahsan, Farough Naseem, Latif Afridi, Dr Khalid Ranja and Hamayoun Ahsan, to discuss these issues. Prior to the meeting of January 27, the Law Minister, Mr Farooq H Naek, will report the results of this legal consultation to the January 27 meeting.
4) Electoral Reforms: It was agreed upon that the focus will be on the enforcement of electoral reforms prior to the polls on:
A. Article 62, 63 and 218 (3) of the constitution
B. Section 77 to 82 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act 1976 and other relevant provisions relating to conducting free, fair, just and honest elections guarded against all corrupt practices.
C. The Supreme Court Judgement of June 8, 2012 on constitutional petition of 2011 must be implemented in Toto and in true letter and spirit.
5) With the end of the long march and sit-in, all cases registered against each other shall be withdrawn immediately and there will be no acts of victimisation and vendetta against either party or the participants of the march.
This declaration has been entered into in a cordial atmosphere and reconciliatory spirit.
Signatories of the declaration
Prime Minister of Pakistan Chairman Pakistan Awami Tehreek
Raja Pervez Ashraf Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri
Leader of the delegation and former Prime Minister Law Minister
Chaudry Shujaat Hussain Farooq H Naek
Makdoom Amin Fahim, PPP
Syed Khursheed Shah, PPPP
Qamar ur Zama Qaira, PPPP
Farooq H Naik, PPPP
Mushahid Hussain, PML-Q
Dr Farooq Sattar, MQM
Babar Ghauri, MQM
Afrasiab Khattak, ANP
Senator Abbas Afridi, FATA
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this August 14. Since 1947, Pakistan has persevered in the face of immense challenges to build upon the democratic ideals of your country’s founders. Today, we take time to honor your sacrifices and renew our support for a stable and secure Pakistan for generations to come.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah dreamt of a vibrant, self-reliant Pakistan – a goal we all share. As Muslims around the world reflect upon the meaning of community and sacrifice during this holy month of Ramadan, the United States celebrates the hardworking Pakistanis who strive to fulfill Jinnah’s vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.
QUESTION: Ambassador Rehman also said that what Pakistan is looking – not aid from the U.S., but trade, and she said that as far as textile tariffs are concerned – and also, what I’m asking you is: Is Pakistan – is U.S. focusing more to spend money more on the development in Pakistani people in order to have a better image of U.S. in Pakistan?
MS. NULAND: Well, Goyal, as you know, the Secretary has been one of the most vocal advocates of switching as much of our economic relationship with Pakistan from aid to trade. That’s been the focus of the Department’s efforts with the Pakistani Government over the last couple of years, and some of the internal reviews we’ve done are focused on that. So we are investing in the economic health and strength of the country. We are investing in energy. We’re investing in education. We are investing in democracy programs and development, so – and micro-lending and all of these kinds of things. So it’s not about improving our image. It’s about helping to strengthen a stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan.
“I was delighted to welcome the new ambassador here yesterday. She is someone that I’ve known for some time. My message to her was very straightforward: The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is crucial to both of our countries, to the future of our people, to the safety and security of South Asia and the world; we recognize there have been significant challenges in recent months, but we are steadfastly committed to this relationship and working together to make it productive.
So we will continue to do so, and we obviously have expressed a lot of concerns about what we see happening inside Pakistan. It has been our position to stand strongly in favor of a democratically elected civilian government, which we continue to do, and we expect Pakistan to resolve any of these internal issues in a just and transparent manner that upholds the Pakistani laws and constitution.”
The American Islamic Leadership Coalition has joined a group of prominent American Muslims that has appealed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her and President Obama to intervene in the matter of the former Pakistan Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani who is under house arrest in Pakistan and expressed a fear for his life.
The letter signed by among others, Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser and author Irshad Manji, asked Clinton to “let Pakistan’s military chief General Kayani and ISI boss General Pasha know that they will be held responsible for any harm that comes to Ambassador Haqqani.”
Ambassador Haqqani’s travails began after it was alleged that he had initiated a letter to the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, following the US military action inside Pakistan in which Osama Bin Laden was killed. The letter reportedly asked for American intervention in Pakistan in order to forestall a military coup.
Ambassador Haqqani vehemently denied these allegations, yet honorably offered to resign his position and return to Pakistan to clear his name and answer any questions. He acted in good faith, but Pakistan’s military-judicial establishment and the country’s anti-American media have “convicted him” in the court of public opinion, without the benefit of any criminal charges.
In the letter to Mrs. Clinton the American and Canadian Muslim leaders also asked for the safety of Ambassador Haqqani’s wife. The letter said, “We also ask you to ensure the safety of Ambassador Haqqani’s wife, currently in the US. She is constantly followed by ISI agents working inside America. She should have the ability to live here free from intimidation and threats.”
“We American and Canadian Muslims have watched with increasing anxiety the situation of the former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani. Motivated by our deep concern for the life and safety of Ambassador Haqqani we write to you to ask you to speak on his behalf. Ambassador Haqqani is living under virtual house arrest in Pakistan. Pakistan’s security agencies confiscated his passport and the judiciary, under pressure from the military, has restricted him from travelling outside Pakistan,” the letter added.
The signatories of the letter to Mrs. Clinton said, “… Ambassador Haqqani … represented moderate Islamic values and was vocal in his opposition to radical elements in Islam, which was a source of pride for moderate Muslims in North America. During his stay in the United States, Ambassador Haqqani was an effective, intelligent and articulate refutation of all the negative stereotypes associated with the Islamist leadership inside America.”
Regarding Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari’s Oct. 2 op-ed, “Talk to, not at, Pakistan”:
A bipartisan group in Congress would readily lend its support to a trade-based, rather than aid-based, Afghanistan-Pakistan economic strategy. Such a plan should explain how Afghanistan and Pakistan can develop the homegrown financial wherewithal to support themselves, and fend off violent extremists, with minimal American financial assistance. This might take the form of a bold effort such as the negotiation of free-trade agreements with Afghanistan and Pakistan, combined with a diplomatic offensive aimed at increasing trade between the two countries and India. Alternatively, the United States might advance a more modest approach, such as establishing the so-called Reconstruction Opportunity Zones mentioned by Mr. Zardari, which have been debated in recent Congresses.
Potential benefits to the United States include a reduced aid burden; a check on corrupt aid distribution; job creation to reduce recruitment of violent extremists and illegal poppy production; and enhanced credibility for civil authorities at the expense of Pakistani military leaders, the latter having demonstrated a penchant for giving aid and comfort to our enemies.
Todd Young, Washington
ISLAMABAD, Sep 15 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the greatest threat to democracy emanated from a militant mindset and called for defeating militancy and extremism and advance democratic values. “The greatest threat to democracy is from the extremists and militants who want to foist their political agenda on the people by bullet rather than ballot and also from intolerance to dissent and disagreement.”
“Let us on this day pledge to fight the dark forces of militancy and extremism and allow the blossoming of democratic culture in the country”, the President said in a message on the occasion of International Democracy Day being observed throughout the world on September 15 (Thursday) under the auspices of the United Nations.
The President congratulated the democratic forces in the world in general and in Pakistan in particular on the International Day of Democracy, and said “It is a day to re-affirm its commitment for democracy and democratic ideals around the world and in Pakistan.”
“On this occasion I wish to compliment all democracies of the world and also reiterate our firm resolve to further strengthen democracy in Pakistan,” he added.
The President said the people of Pakistan are resolute in safeguarding their democratic rights and moving forward on path of democracy against all odds and what the machinations against it.
“It is a attribute to the democratic genius of our people that despite setbacks to democracy our people have not allowed dictatorship to take roots in the country,” he added.
The President said the ethos of the people of Pakistan is democratic, adding, last year, their chosen representatives unanimously adopted changes in the Constitution to restore its pristine democratic credentials.
“I am confident the elected Parliament in keeping with democratic traditions ensure that the democratic Constitution is not subverted by any one,” he added.
The President said, “Our march on the road to democracy continues. During the year 2011 democracy took yet another stride forward in Pakistan when the people of tribal areas were given their democratic rights with consensus.”
“The Amendments in the FCR and Extension of the Political Parties Order 2002 has been designed to release the people of tribal areas in accordance with their wishes from the over a century old system of bondage and undemocratic dispensation,” he added.
The President said democracy will be strengthened by meeting the basic needs of the people and freeing them from the clutches of poverty and deprivation.
The devastation caused by incessant rains and floods in Sindh and other parts of the country has adversely impacted on the efforts aimed at poverty alleviation and meeting the needs of the people, he added.
“On this occasion therefore I also urge the people of Pakistan and the international community to step forward and help rehabilitate the lives that have been devastated by floods”, he added.
“It is hoped that the observance of the International Democracy Day will lend strength to the pro-democracy forces throughout the world and discourage potential dictators from curbing the aspirations of the people through political adventurism,” the President maintained.