LALAMUSA  – Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira on Tuesday said that caretaker setup would assume charge after March 18 and general elections will be held according to the time stipulated in the constitution.

“Interim government will take charge from the incumbent government on March 19, 2013,” Kaira said after having a meeting with Norwegian ambassador at his residence.

Talking to the media persons, he said that if consensus about the caretaker setup had not been formed before mid-March, the Election Commission would decide in this regard.

The government does not want to waste its efforts made in the last four and half years by delaying elections and such rumours are being spread by the opposition, the minister said.

“Delaying elections is not possible in the presence of independent judiciary, vibrant media and civil society. Opposition is spreading such rumours for the fear of defeat,” he added.

Kaira said the PPP had spurned the practice of political victimisation.

Criticising Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, he said the PPP had not compromised on principles despite having troubles in the past while the Sharifs had preferred inking a 10-year exile agreement with General (r) Pervez Musharraf to save their skins.

To a question, he said the government did not believe in victimising its opponents, adding that nobody can pinpoint even a single example of political victimisation during the tenure of the PPP.

The information minister said that the Punjab government was busy in victimising its political opponents, referring the registration of cases against a PPP MPA, Shaukat Basra.

To another question, he said: “The PPP members have accepted the appointment of Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo as their Punjab president. Some PPP workers have reservations about the alliance with PML-Q, however, this is not an issue for a big political party.

The federal information minister urged the institutions to work within their limits.

Earlier, the minister hosted a luncheon meeting for Norwegian envoy to Pakistan Cecillie Landsverk and head of opposition Conservative Party Ms Erna Salberg.

In the meeting, the leaders discussed matters of mutual interest.

Talking to media persons, Ms Erna said Pakistan and Norway enjoy cordial relations. Pakistanis are playing important role in the development and progress of Norway.

The policy-makers of Norway keep the interests of foreigners residing in Norway supreme before finalising the policies.

She said Pakistanis are playing major role in the development and progress of Norway. Norway has softened the immigration laws aiming to facilitate the foreign workers, who want to bring their families with them.

Ms Erna expressed her goodwill and best wishes for the forthcoming general elections in Pakistan. She said a Pakistani player is serving in the football team of Norway.

After Swat operation the whole world accepted the sincerity of Pakistan in fighting terrorists.

The minister thanked the envoy and Ms Erna for visiting his ancestral home.

He said the government in collaboration with the opposition has already appointed a neutral CEC to ensure free, fair elections.