ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid Monday said that the government wanted to end the undemocratic practice of horsetrading.
For that purpose the government was making efforts to introduce a constitutional amendment, which it desired to be passed by the Parliament before March 5, the day for Senate election, he added.
Talking to newsmen after addressing a book launching ceremony here, Pervaiz Rashid said the Federal Cabinet (on Monday) expressed deep concern over the reports regarding horsetrading and the tactics to influence the forthcoming Senate election, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Such reports damage the image of the elected institutions,” he quoted the Prime Minister as saying.
The minister said in 1980s and 1990s when no-confidence motions were used to be tabled against the then governments, the news of horsetrading also used to be in the air.
When the PML-N came to power through two-thirds majority in 1997 it introduced anti-floor crossing amendment in the Constitution to end this undemocratic practice, he added.
He said that the PML-N believed in purging the political system of the murky practices and after coming to power, it constituted an electoral reforms committee, which had so far not completed its work due to the “container politics”.
The minister blamed the “container politics” for the ongoing reported horsetrading for Senate election. Had the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) stayed in the National Assembly, an amendment might have been approved by the Parliament to reform electoral system, he added.
He said all the political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement, Jamiat Ulema Islam, Jamaat Islami and PTI would be approached to get the amendment passed by the Parliament.
He appealed to PTI Chairman Imran Khan not to make it a matter of ego, come to the National Assembly along with 35 party members and help amend the Constitution to make the Senate election process transparent.
Replying to a question, he said that all the political parties were in favour of making the electoral system more transparent and hoped that they all would support any constitutional amendment in this regard.
The Prime Minister directed the federal ministers to consult mainstream political parties for taking necessary steps, said Pervaiz Rashid.
The Prime Minister, he added, also directed for immediate formation of a committee comprising legal experts to deliberate on the legal position and submit its report and recommendations in next 24 hours.
The committee would contact and coordinate with political parties and their leadership, he added.
Answering a question, he said three names for Gilgit Baltistan caretaker chief minister were given by the outgoing chief minister Mehdi Shah and opposition leader in GB Assembly. “If Khursheed Shah goes to court against the caretaker GB chief minister, he will be knocking the door of court against his own party.”
Earlier addressing the launching ceremony of senior journalist Tahir Mughal’s book “Zindgi Ke Safar Maen”, he said the book was a good commentary on the events of last 30 to 35 years.
He said unfortunately Pakistan was facing a situation where three-year old children knew the words terrorists, suicide jackets and suicide bombers.
In such a scenario it was necessary to counter what he called factories of creating extremist mindset and writers had to play a key role in the war against terror, he added.
These factories, he said, had been spreading hatred, extremism and bias in the country and now it was necessary to counter them with force.
The minister said armed forces and law enforcement agencies had destroyed most of the factories making suicide jackets but for changing the mindset of youth who become suicide bombers, the writers, intellectuals and journalists would have to come forward to defeat the narrative of terrorists.
He said unfortunately Pakistan as a nation could not benefit from the universities and colleges as so-called factories of changing innocent people’s minds influenced the young generation wrongly.
He said,”Time has come that we should settle our issues through dialogue, love, peace and harmony.”
There was dire need to promote poetry, drama and literature so that the minds of the youth could be changed, he added.
The minister said that Tahir Mughal’s book was part of such efforts and should be appreciated.