JUN 24, 2018: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri has announced his party will not contest the forthcoming General Election 2018 because “the entire system” was “flawed and could not be called a democracy”.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, Qadri stressed the need for making the electoral process transparent and raising awareness about Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
“Everything that is being done in the name of democracy is wrong and we don’t want to be a part of this,” he said in clear worded remarks, surprising many political analysts and rivals alike.
Qadri said Article 62 and 63 has not been implemented in its true spirit as many candidates with serious allegations of money laundering, mass killings, corruption and human smuggling have been qualified.
“Neither electoral reforms were made nor any seriousness was shown in the accountability process. We cannot be part of such an election which does not have anything good for the people. Similar faces are seen in assembly time and again. God knows how long it will go.”
The PAT supremo said his party was fighting the war against corruption in the political system, decrying that some political parties and leaders had adopted double standards.
He also appeared irked by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) decision to give tickets to ‘electables’. Without naming the party’s chief Imran Khan, he said that the statement on electables as being essential for elections went against PTI’s slogan of change.
Responding to a question about boycotting the election, Qadri said he had not used the word ‘boycott.’
“I have been careful with my choice of words, hence I said earlier that my party will not contest in the upcoming election.”
The polls are due to be held on July 25 and PAT is the first party to pull out of the race.
Dr Qadri landed in Pakistan in the first week of June for overseeing his party’s preparation for the forthcoming general elections and to forge alliances, according to some observers.
When asked about the previous tours of the PAT chief, PAT spokesman Noorullah Siddiqui tried to water down the controversy and said that PAT had two major demands: making the Justice Baqar Najfi report public and justice for Model Town massacre.
“If alliance with other parties matures and contest becomes a single symbol affair, Tahirul Qadri would become part of the election campaign and stay till elections,” the spokesperson had said in a conversation with a private channel last month.