LAHORE - Political leaders have welcomed the dismissal of Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri’s petition against the Election Commission of Pakistan, calling it a step forward to the timely elections in the country.

They said the court saw the intentions behind moving a petition against the ECP when the elections were about to be held. The PML-N called the ruling a protector of the democratic system.

PML-N MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that the SC foiled conspiracy against the country, brightening the prospects of timely elections. The court rightly took notice of petitioner’s years-long absence and his abrupt advent into the politics to derail the system. He said the Supreme Court exposed Qadri and the masses would now hardly respond to his call.

PTI President Javed Hashmi said: “PTI agrees with the decision of the Supreme Court on Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri’s petition, however doing long march and filing petition were his democratic rights.

“A better strategy could be made to press the government to carry out electoral reforms, if Dr Qadri has taken into confidence other political parties for his plans of reforming the electoral system.”

PML-N leader Senator Tariq Azim said that SC’s decision is a major boost for those political parties which want continuity of democracy by free and fair polls under the ECP.

“Those calling for the reconstitution of the ECP, want to derail democracy and pose hurdles to smooth transition of democratic process,” the senator added.

He said that Qadri should relinquish his dual nationality and contest elections if he really wants to bring change.

PPP Minister Maula Buksh Chandio said that it was the decision of an independent judiciary. “Qadri from his Lahore public meeting to Islamabad long march had eulogised the judiciary and now the same institution has given verdict against him so Qadri should not grouse against the ruling.

Jamaat-e-Islami Information Secretary Muhammad Anwar Niazi termed the diction as saviour of the democratic system. He said Dr Qadri, a Canadian citizen, came to Pakistan carrying a foreign agenda and the court frustrated his scheme.

The court decision has also exposed the double standard of Qadri who were full of praises for judiciary but did not accept the verdict against him. The JI wants elections on time, Anwar added.

However, PML-Q leader and constitutional expert SM Zafar, differing to his colleagues, said: “The discretion of the Supreme Court exercised in Qadri’s petition is somewhat unrelated issue because he approached the court as a Pakistani citizen and the Constitution guarantees him all such rights, which are available to citizens.

“I don’t know what next political step Qadri will undertake but the issue he took to the apex court was vital for holding transparent polls.”