Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar appeared upset Tuesday with what he said was the media “misquoting” his comments that “fair elections” were possible even without PTI chairman Imran Khan.
in a interview with The Associated Press Last week, the prime minister had said it was possible to hold “fair” polls without Imran and his party leaders, who were jailed as part of a state crackdown following violent riots across the country on May 9.
The PTI rejected the prime minister’s comments and said elections without Imran would be “unconstitutional and illegal”. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan had also adopted strong exception to Prime Minister Kakar’s comments, calling them “undemocratic” and “misjudged.”
Questioned on the matter while speaking to the media in London today, Prime Minister Kakar said: “I am not aware of the question of who the next elections will be held with or without.
“Those phrases are circulated repeatedly and attempts are made to associate them with me, which is never my intention or purpose.”
He complained that the media often selected half sentences from a full paragraph for a feature article. “It is a great disgrace that people are being misquoted and misled,” the prime minister added.
On the question of whether the PTI chief could participate in the elections, the prime minister asked whether a British-Pakistani citizen could participate in the electoral process or not.
“No? Why? Because the laws don’t allow it. And if the law allows it for anyone, whoever the political leader is, then they will participate (in the elections) and if not, they won’t.”
He said the interim government had no role in the matter, adding that what people did not understand was that these were legal issues, not political or administrative ones.
“When it comes to laws, procedures and due process, I cannot change them and even if I wanted to, my hands are tied.”
On the date of elections, the prime minister said that the Election Commission of Pakistan would fulfill its responsibility and the date would be announced soon.
Ministry says comments were ‘misunderstood and misinformed’
Hours earlier, the interim government said Prime Minister Kakar comments They were “misunderstood and misinformed.”
In a clarification, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said Prime Minister Kakar was “speaking clearly in suggesting that while participating in elections was a right, retribution for crimes was legally justified.”
The ministry said the interview was “distorted by some media” to give the impression that someone would not be allowed to participate in the general election.
The government drew attention to the following text from the Prime Minister’s interview: “We are not persecuting anyone for personal revenge. But yes, we will make sure the law is adequate. Anyone, be it Imran Khan or any other politician, who violates, in terms of his political behavior, the laws of the country, then restoration of the law must be ensured. “We cannot equate that with…political discrimination.”
The Ministry of Information reiterated in its statement that the PTI and its leaders were free to participate in the elections like any other party. “It has been clarified that there is no impediment for any leader of the PTI or the party as a whole to contest the elections.”
The statement further added that all citizens are equal before the law and that the law will take its course with respect to anyone currently facing legal charges.
“The courts are free and independent and the interim government has no authority or intention to influence the courts at any level,” the statement said, clarifying that anyone aggrieved by any order or ruling of a legal or judicial forum has a guaranteed right constitutionally. turn to the next forum in the judicial hierarchy for relief.
“The interim government is committed to holding free and fair elections. The interim government will support the constitutional and legal framework for holding elections and ensure that all orders and instructions of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the independent judiciary are followed in letter and spirit,” the statement added.
“There is no institutional favor to any party in the polls”
Meanwhile, in an interview with TRT WorldPrime Minister Kakar called Pakistan a transitional democracy and assured that the electoral process would be neutral, fair and free.
He stressed that there will be no “organizational or institutional participation,” either in favor of a person or a political group.
On the protests by PTI supporters, he said that a protest, if it remained peaceful, was their basic and democratic right.
“The government will try to protect the democratic rights of any political party, be it the PTI, the PML-N and the PPP,” he said. However, he stressed that no type of vandalism will be allowed in the name of the protests.
To a question on civil-military relations, he said that to ensure functional governance, civil institutions had depended on the military due to its organizational capabilities and to address daily challenges in multiple areas, including health, education and disasters. management and collection of tax revenues.
Kakar said civic institutions needed to improve their capacity to improve service delivery.