Party that doesn't want to stay can go: PM Gilani
22 August, 2011
LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday said if someone did not want to stay with the Pakistan People's Party, it was their (those parties') choice.
He said this in response to a query about ties between his party and the MQM while talking to reporters at the Governor House here before presiding over a meeting of parliamentarians from three divisions of the Punjab.
"It is our wish to take along all political forces together, but if anyone does not want to stay with us, it is their own choice and manifesto," the prime minister remarked. Asked whether the MQM was behind the bloodshed in Karachi, he said it was not fair to pass such remarks against the MQM, which had been an ally of the PPP.
He said the MQM had supported the PPP on various issues and even the name of Asif Ali Zardari for the slot of the president was suggested by MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that a military operation in Karachi was not a solution to the law and order problem there and he had confidence in the Rangers and police.
"Military actions are not a solution and it is the prerogative of the provincial government to decide on the issue. In the greater interest of Karachi, we all should sit together," he said. Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa and Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan were also present on the occasion.
About the government's failure to control the killings in Karachi, he said the criticism of Rangers after recent incidents had certainly demoralised the force. "But even then, I have confidence in the Rangers and police who are patriot and committed," he added.
About the suggestion of PML-N regarding mid-term polls, Gilani said he respected the remarks of Nawaz Sharif, but the parliament, not any government, was supreme, which could decide on such issues. He said the time for mid-term polls was over as his government had presented four budgets in the parliament.
"I never said the government would complete its term. It's parliament, in fact, which must complete its term and there are many others in the parliament besides Mian Sahib, and any decision in this regard will be unanimous," Gilani added. He said the government had completed its more than half term so the topic of mid-term was over now.
When asked to comment on the appointment of National Accountability Bureau chairman and the possibility of appointing Justice (R) Javed Iqbal as the NAB chief, Gilani said the leader of the house in National Assembly and the opposition leader had to be consulted before the appointment of any person. However, he added, he had not been consulted yet over the matter.
Gilani also said he held judiciary in great esteem and accepted its decisions. He said 1973 Constitution was the credit of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the present PPP government had the credit of restoring it.
Later, the premier also chaired a meeting of MNAs from three divisions of Punjab - Lahore, Gujranwala and Sahiwal. The meeting was followed by an iftar dinner. The premier later left for Karachi. APP adds: Prime Minister Gilani said that military actions were not a long-term solution to problems and it was only the provincial government that could decide on taking military action in Karachi. He said the federal government would provide full assistance if the provincial government asked for it.
Gilani said Rangers and other law enforcement agencies had been given a free hand to ensure peace in the city, adding that the centre had provided all information to the provincial government to enable it to control the situation.
To a query, the premier said important decisions would be taken at a high-level meeting at the Sindh Governor's House. He formed a high-level committee under Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh to check unscheduled loadshedding in the country and provide relief to the masses.
On the question of convening of an APC or in-camera briefing on Karachi situation, the premier said a meeting of cabinet's Defence Committee was recently held which was briefed by the chiefs of the armed forces, adding that a strategy would soon be adopted in the light of the briefing.