Time for mid-term polls over: PM Gilani
06 June, 2011
MULTAN: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said the Pakistan People’s Party would enjoy a clear majority in the Senate elections in March 2012 and that the Senate victory would set the tone for the 2013 general elections.
Addressing a workers convention at the local Circuit House, PM Gilani made it clear that the party would never opt for using the backdoor to come to power. “The PPP will come to power only through the power of the vote and accept the verdict of the people whether favourable or otherwise,” he said. “Our rivals now know that the time for mid-term polls is over and the next general elections will decide who comes to power. The PPP does not crave power but wants to serve the people in the best way. The party believes in a ceaseless struggle for strengthening democracy and the protection of the rights of the people whether in power or in opposition.”
Prime Minister Gilani said the PPP had waged a struggle for the freedom of the media and independence of the judiciary, adding that it would continue to move ahead in this direction. He said the PPP-led government had showed tolerance towards criticism from the media and other quarters because it was a party that made numerous sacrifices for the cause of democracy and had the responsibility of upholding democratic norms and traditions.
The prime minister said some quarters might take the politics of reconciliation as a sign of weakness but they were mistaken. “The politics of reconciliation was the philosophy, strategy and vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. It was the reconciliatory politics that ensured the presentation of the fourth national budget by the incumbent government,” he added. “Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave the 1973 Constitution to the country and it was the mission of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto to restore the constitution to its true spirit,” he said, adding that parliament had repealed draconian laws and restored the 1973 Constitution.
PM Gilani also heaped praises on President Asif Ali Zardari for voluntarily delegating powers to the parliament and prime minister. He said the PPP was a symbol of national unity and the federation. “The party gave a constitution to the nation which kept the federation intact and guided the country in troubled situations,” he added.
He said the PPP-led government would control price hikes and the energy crisis. He also flagged that his government had initiated mega projects like Bhasha dam, Thar coal and CASA-1000 to overcome the energy crisis.
Meanwhile, talking to a delegation of resident editors of newspapers, senior journalists, office-bearers of the Multan Press Club (MPC) and newspaper hawkers, PM Gilani said the government had announced the best possible budget based on realities given the present circumstances. He said the government was working hard to resolve the problems it had inherited after coming to power. “This was the best possible budget amid challenges, including global recession, security situation and the cost of infrastructure revival in the post-flood situation,” the prime minister said, adding that the provinces had received more resources under the 7th NFC Award.
He said during the budget session of the Punjab Assembly, the PPP would not act boisterously like the opposition had at the NA budget session. “The party will not adopt undemocratic behaviour which is contrary to parliamentary traditions,” he said, and added that it would prefer to set good traditions and norms. He also said that the party would not take any step to destabilise the Punjab government.
Referring to a public demand for a Seraiki province, he said the PPP Manifesto Committee was working to chalk out a plan which would give due consideration to the sentiments of people.
While in a meeting with a delegation of the Photo-Journalists Association, which also met him at the Circuit House, Prime Minister Gilani announced Rs1 million in annual grants to the Photo Journalists Association (PJA) Multan. The delegation apprised the prime minister of their problems. The prime minister pledged to resolve their problems on a priority basis. He also announced the provision of 52 digital cameras, one each for members of the association.
Talking to a delegation of High Court Bar Association and District Bar Association, the prime minister said lawyers had played an important and leading role in the struggle for restoration of democracy and independence of judiciary. He recalled that the lawyers had played a vital role in the freedom movement of Pakistan and cited the visionary leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Mohammad Iqbal in that regard. He said the Pakistan People’s Party had always struggled for the rule of law.
The prime minister also directed the district administration to expedite work on the judicial complex project. He announced Rs20 million for a lawyers’ colony and Rs5 million for the Lawyers Welfare Fund.
An 18-member delegation of Wafaq-Ul-Madaaris Al-Arabia, led by Qari Hanif Jalandhary also called on Prime Minister Gilani. Talking to the delegation, the prime minister directed the interior minister to hold meeting with the representatives of Wafaq-Ul-Madaaris Al-Arabia to decide a uniform curriculum for all religious institutions in the country.
He said Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and brotherhood, but a few perverted elements, working on a foreign agenda, had tried to malign its good name. He said extremists were neither sincere to Islam nor to Pakistan; rather they were hired by foreign elements to carry out foreign agendas. He sought the fullest cooperation of all religious circles and institutions across the country.
The prime minister reiterated that the government was pursuing a three-D policy of Defence, Dialogue and Development. He said that like any institution, it was the responsibility of madaaris to work and support the campaign for the eradication of extremism and terrorism. He said madaaris should also impart information technology training and education to students so that they could earn a livelihood. He said education was the only way towards progress and prosperity of the country. He assured full support to madaaris for resolving their problems. “Ulema and Mashaikh should come forward to dispel the wrong impression about madaaris,” he added.
Gilani said that Pakistan was a responsible state and its people were also responsible. The country was not isolated, rather, it had emerged stronger. He said the armed forces, civil society, and institutions rendered sacrifices in the fight against militancy, which were acknowledged by the international community.
Referring to the Opposition’s attitude in the National Assembly during the budget speech, the prime minister said listening to the budget speech was the right of every parliamentarian and citizen and depriving them of this right was a non-parliamentary tradition.
He said that PPP was a strong party and workers were its real asset. He announced that five percent of the development budget of parliamentarians would be spent on workers’ recommendations for welfare of people and to meet their development needs at grassroots level.