Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar has pledged to ensure free and fair elections in the country, saying that there would be no organisational or institutional involvement to favour any political party in the upcoming general elections scheduled to be held in the last week of January.
The premier, while speaking during an exclusive interview on TRT World’s The Newsmakers, said Pakistan will enter the electoral process quite soon, which will be as per the law and the Constitution.
PM Kakar asserted that the delimitation of constituencies is a constitutional requirement, adding that the regulation should be complied with for the supremacy of the constitution.
Speaking about the May 9 protests, PM Kakar said people have the right to express their sentiments under prescribed law but “we can’t allow vandalism in the name of protest or if people are going violent then that kind of situation is not acceptable under any democratic system”.
The violent protests took place almost across the country after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest in the Al-Qadir Trust case on May 9 this year. Hundreds of PTI workers and senior leaders were put behind bars for their alleged involvement in violence and attacks on military installations.
‘PTI withdrew foreign conspiracy allegation’
Regarding the alleged involvement of the United States in the PTI chief’s ouster from power in April 2022 via a no-confidence vote, PM Kakar said that the PTI has backtracked on its ‘foreign conspiracy’ narrative.
“How would me or anyone in Pakistan would believe in such a conspiracy […] when people who brought it to the public domain backtracked on that and said that it was probably for public consumption,” he maintained.
PM Kakar further said that in some Asian states, political leaders sometimes do such acts for populist reasons.
He said the caretaker government would ensure that no one can meddle in our domestic affairs, adding that Khan was ousted constitutionally.
Shedding light on the civil-military relations in Pakistan, Kakar said in the past Pakistani political leaders sought the military’s help for their political interests and once they were out of power, they started criticising the institution to shift the onus of their failure.
He said the only institution that has the organisational capability left in Pakistan is the military and “anyone who is dealing with governance has to rely on it to meet the challenges”.
Talking about terrorist attacks and relations with Afghanistan, the caretaker PM said the country has been facing such attacks for almost 15 years and is trying to counter them by kinetic and non-kinetic measures and has been successful in managing that to a certain level.
PM Kakar said that they were dealing with different layers of authorities in Afghanistan and some were spoiling the peace efforts. He added that some banned organisations like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have training camps in Afghanistan, which is a point of concern for the country.
However, the premier expressed hope in engaging with Afghans despite some challenges in Pakistan-Afghanistan relationships as it was in the common interest of both nations.
Pakistan, on several occasions, has confronted the interim Taliban government for not acting against the terrorists using Afghan soil to launch attacks on Pakistan.
On domestic politics, the prime minister said political differences shouldn’t be converted into enmities as this practice leads to the “death of democracy”.
Resolution of IIOJK issue
Replying to a query about Pakistan-India relations, he said Pakistan is quite open to a meaningful dialogue with all its neighbours. He added that they do want peace with India but only peace with justice.
He also spoke about the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) issue, stressing that India — being the so-called champion of the world’s biggest democracy — should resolve this issue based on UN resolutions.