Islamabad: Pakistan will announce dates for elections and dissolution of assemblies within ten days, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Sunday.

The announcement came after a government delegation held talks with a religious leader Tahir-ul-Qadri in Lahore on Sunday. Qadri led a long-march on Islamabad and later staged a sit-in in Islamabad earlier this month to press the government for electoral reforms. The meeting in Lahore was part of a deal reached with Qadri to persuade him to call off his sit-in outside parliament that paralysed the centre of Islamabad two weeks ago.

"We will try our best to announce a date for dissolution of national and provincial assemblies and holding of elections within 7-10 days," Kaira told a joint press conference with Qadri. Kaira said a consensus would be developed between the coalition government and Dr Qadri's party Awami Tehrik on names of the caretaker Prime Minister and Chief Ministers.

However, consensus on the issue of dissolution of the Election Commission could not be evolved in the dialogue.  Qadri had ended his protest after four days when a government team assured him that the elections will be held on time and that scrutiny of all candidates will be carried out to stop corrupt elements reaching the parliament.

The current national and provincial assemblies will complete their five-year term on March 17 and a caretaker would be put in place to supervise parliamentary polls. New elections and transition process will complete within three months after the dissolution of the assemblies.

The opposition parties are demanding the government announce dates for the elections to remove rumours about delay in the elections.


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