Govt says PM Kakar’s statement on elections minus Imran twisted

ISLAMABAD  -  The caretaker government on Tuesday said under the constitu­tion and prevalent electoral laws, all political parties had the equal right to participate in the general elections and categorically stated that the remarks of the caretaker prime minister during a recent interview to the foreign wire ser­vice Associated Press had been “misunderstood and misreport­ed”. The ministry of Information and Broadcasting in its official statement issued the original text from the Associated Press to clarify that Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar was plain speaking to suggest that where­as participating in the elections was a right, but retribution for crimes was legally warranted.

The ministry lamented that the interview had been “twist­ed by some outlets” to give the impression that someone will not be allowed to take part in the general elections.

The ministry drew attention to the following text of Prime Minister’s interview: 

“We are not pursuing any­one on a personal vendetta,” Ka­kar said. “But yes, we will en­sure that the law is appropriate. Anyone, be it Imran Khan or any other politician who violates, in terms of their political behavior, the laws of the country, then the restoration of the law has to be ensured. We cannot equate that with … political discrimination.”

Kakar said fair elections can take place without Khan or hun­dreds of members of his party who are jailed because they en­gaged in unlawful activities in­cluding vandalism and arson, a reference to the violence that rocked the country following Khan’s initial arrest in May. 

The caretaker prime minis­ter added that the thousands of people in Khan’s party who didn’t engage in unlawful activ­ities, “will be running the politi­cal process, they will be partici­pating in the elections.” 

The Information Ministry reit­erated in its statement that Pa­kistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its leaders are free to participate in the elections like any other party. It has been clarified that there is no impediment to con­testing elections by any leader of PTI or the party as a whole. 

The statement further added that every citizen is equal be­fore law and the law will take its course with respect to any person currently facing legal charges. The courts are free and independent and the caretaker government has neither author­ity nor intention to influence the courts at any level. 

It was further clarified that any person aggrieved by any order or ruling of a statutory or judicial forum has a constitu­tionally guaranteed right to ap­proach the next forum in judi­cial hierarchy for relief. 

“The caretaker government is committed to holding free and fair elections. The care­taker government will support the constitutional and legal structure for holding elections and would ensure that all or­ders and directions of the Election Commission of Paki­stan and independent judicia­ry are complied with in letter and spirit,” the government said in its statement.

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