ISLAMABAD - Dr Tahirul Qadri’s silence on removal of sub-clause 4 of Article 17 relating to elections in political parties while unveiling four points charter of demand on Wednesday has raised many eyebrows.
Clause 4 of Article 17 was removed in the 18th constitutional amendment on the ground it was incorporated in the said Article by former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in order to promote real democracy in the political parties. It was removed by the incumbent Parliament on the recommendation of Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms headed by Senator Raza Rabbani.
“Oversight of such an important element of electoral reforms by Chairman of Tehreek Minhajul Quran (TMQ) is shocking,” said Raja Riasat, a political activist, who came to attend Dr. Qadri’s sit-in from Gujar Khan. Riasat while talking to TheNation after Dr Qadri’s address expressed his disappointment saying TMQ Chairman should have included re-incorporation of sub-clause 4 while demanding electoral reforms.
Similarly, Riaz Khan who came from district Swabi of Khyber Pukhtunkhawa to participate in Dr Qadri’s sit-in also agitated on how and why Dr Qadri kept his silence on such an important subject while unveiling his charter of demands.
He was of the view that such an important clause should be revived to promote real democracy in the country, saying with doing away mechanism provided under the sub-clause 4 of Article 17, would ultimately promote dictatorial leadership in the political parties. However, activists of TMQ participating in the sit-in defended their leader, saying it was not possible that such an important element of electoral reforms could be overlooked Dr Qadri.
On the other hand, political observers say that Dr Qadri might have deliberately ignored this element of his electoral reforms agenda because of the fear that it would make his demands controversial because of Musharraf factor.
Participation of supporters of former military dictator in Dr Qadri’s long march have been subject of criticism for other political parties making the TMQ Chief cautious in making reference to any thing related to the former military dictator.
“This could be one of the reasons Dr Qadri kept his mum on the removal of sub-clause 4 of Article 17,” said a political observer from a leading NGO requesting not to be named.
According to her, Dr Qadri should have included re-incorporation of the removed mechanism in his demands for electoral reforms in order to make political parties bound to hold inter-party elections in the interest of democracy.