ISLAMABAD, March 18 (Xinhua) -- A Pakistani religious leader, Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, announced on Sunday that his party would boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections as old faces will return to the parliament and there will be no positive change, local media reported.
Addressing several thousands of his supporters in the city of Rawalpindi, Qadri said that his Pakistan Awami Tehrik party will hold protest rallies on the day of elections in Islamabad and several other main cities.
Qadri led thousands of his supporters in a long-march to Islamabad in January for election reforms. The long-march was ended after four days of sit-in outside the parliament when the government negotiation team promised to accept his demand.
However, he criticized the outgoing government of Pakistan Peoples Party for not honoring its promises with him about election reforms.
Qadri said that the elections will be "illegal" as the election commission was not constituted in line with constitutional provisions.
He said that those people would again contest and reach the assemblies who were allegedly involved in corruption.
"My party will not become a part of the corrupt electoral system, being run by corrupt people as well," the religious leader said.
He declared the polls under current election commission as fraudulent and said his party would protest on the polling day across the country.
Political analysts are of the view that Qadri's boycott will not have a major impact on the elections as his party had not been active in politics for years.
He himself returned to Pakistan in December after five years in Canada where he also got Canadian nationality.
According to a Supreme Court verdict, a dual national cannot stand for parliament seat.
Qadri is the first religious leader to boycott the elections at a time when the prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, and the government are facing deadlock over the nomination of an interim prime minister.
Both have rejected each other's proposed candidates but they have two more days to reach an understanding.