I don't need PML-N's permission to enter NA: Gilani
29 April, 2012
LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday he did not need any permission from the opposition leader to enter the National Assembly (NA) because he was a unanimously elected prime minister and member of parliament.
Speaking to a delegation of lawyers at the Governor's House, the prime minister said he would uphold supremacy of the constitution come what may. Gilani said the contempt of court case against him was yet to be concluded and that it was still a sub judice matter. He added the government would challenge the Supreme Court's verdict in the case.
"It is well known that proceedings under an appeal are considered continuity of the original case. The PPP's leadership did not raise any question regarding the Mehran Bank scandal since the matter is sub judice," he said.
"The president of Pakistan enjoys immunity under Article 248. How could I write a letter to Swiss authorities for opening a case against an elected president who is the symbol of federation? I followed the advice not to write a letter as the constitution provides immunity to the president," the prime minister said.
Gilani said that he, as a prime minister, had the legacy of former prime ministers Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. "We respect our institutions, including the judiciary, because we had led a campaign for the restoration of judiciary on the instructions of Benazir Bhutto," he said.
The prime minister said that although cases were registered against him in anti-terrorism courts, he was strictly following law of the land and the constitution.
Gilani said PML-N President Nawaz Sharif had become desperate after losing popularity, which, the prime minister added, had been proved in the recent by-elections in Multan.
"Nawaz Sharif also has apprehensions that the PPP is going to present a people-friendly budget for the fifth time and the party's focus on formation of a Saraiki province," he said.
"Under the Charter of Democracy (CoD), the PPP had favoured [the option of] a third time prime minister only for Nawaz Sharif. Had we not favoured this, Nawaz Sharif would have become irrelevant in national politics," the prime minister said.
Referring to the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), Gilani said the first NRO was that under which Nawaz Sharif went into exile after an agreement that he would not take part in politics for 10 years.
"First, Nawaz Sharif vociferously denied the existence of the agreement but later he confessed that it was not a 10-year but a five-year agreement," he added.
Gilani claimed that he was the "longest serving prime minister" and the president had addressed the joint session of parliament for the fifth time "which is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan".
"It is a matter of pride that at present there is no political prisoner in the country and the media is free," he said.
The lawyers' delegation appreciated the stance of the prime minister and assured him of their support for the rule of law, democracy and independence of judiciary.