LAHORE  - Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira on Sunday appealed to judges to bar the media from publishing or airing their remarks made during the hearings of cases.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Why democracy is obligatory for Pakistan?’, organised by the Pakistan Journalist Forum (PJF) here, Kaira said tickers on news channels about judges’ remarks could damage the campaigns of different political parties.

The PPP minister maintained that only the court decisions should be published and not the comments of the judges during the proceedings. This will remove the impression of trial of any specific party, he added.

Kaira said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) respected the judiciary and it had always accepted the verdicts even if those were against them – like the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or removal of prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

He said that if the media and the Election Commission prepare a code of conduct for elections media coverage, the PPP would support it. The minister said the caretaker setup would be established as per the constitutional process on time. No one can give final names or date for the setup beforehand, he added.

The minister said initially consensus was needed between the leaders of House and Opposition, but Chaudhry Nisar has refused to sit with the prime minister. However, he said he still hopes the caretaker setup would be formed with consensus. He also urged the people to elect right people in the next elections as a real change could only be possible through their vote. “Only public opinion can change politicians.”

Kaira said the PPP-led government had made fundamental changes in the democratic system and now it is time to deliver. “The next government will be able to deliver,” he added.

To a question, Kaira said Musharraf had defaced the constitution, which had been restored to its original form by the PPP. He said there was not a single example in the world that any country could be put on track in just four or five years. Development was a process and it would take time, he said, adding that the government devolved powers to the provinces, which got around Rs1,100 billion during the last two and a half years under the NFC Award.

Kaira claimed the government had removed the roots of terrorism from the country and now the terrorists could not claim to have their hold in any specific area. “(Earlier) they had been ousted from Swat and Malakand.” Kaira said there were divisions in society but the PPP introduced the policy of reconciliation as talks were the real democratic way. He said the whole nation had to fight against the extremist mindset. He said the civilized world had pushed Pakistan into extremism, otherwise its people are democratic. “The country has been converted into an extremist society from that of a tolerant one.” He appreciated the PJF and said the PPP would support such think-tanks as they were important for a vibrant society.

Separately, talking to a private TV channel, the information minister said that caretaker prime minister will be nominated in consultation with all the stakeholders and transparent elections would be held under the powerful Election Commission after dissolution of assemblies by mid of next month upon completion of their tenure. He said the caretaker government would have no influence on coming elections and the ECP would exercise full powers to conduct free and fair polls. Kaira said that all the stakeholders wanted free, fair and transparent elections in the country.