The heat is steadily rising for the government – and murmurs of conspiracy and plotting once again swirl wildly across the political landscape.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, however, struck a defiant note on the floor of the National Assembly on Wednesday – saying the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) could go to any extent to save democracy.
“This house and democracy should remain intact whether I hold office as prime minister or not,” the PM said while responding to a number of issues raised by Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, which included an attack on the PM himself.
In his speech, Nisar had referred to the fast rising political temperatures of the country saying “agencies which played a role during Musharraf’s regime are at work again. It is happening during your rule (PPP’s) and your own people are leaving for a revolution.”
Nisar also said that his party will intensify their protests since they have lost faith in the government saying “a democratic government or mafia is ruling the country.” The opposition leader mentioned non-implementation of parliamentary resolutions, increase in electricity tariffs, price hike of fertilizer – and no action over concerns raised by Dr Zulfiqar Mirza regarding national security as well as a number of other things.
He further said that the opposition will not come to the government’s rescue in the future. PM Gilani, in his equally strong response, mentioned achievements of the current government, including making the chief spy agency, ISI, and the army answerable to parliament for the first time in history. Gilani also mentioned the non-permanent UN Security Council seat and once again asked the opposition to lend its support to steer the country out of crisis.
“What impression will your (PML-N’s) statements of resigning from assemblies give,” PM Gilani said.
However, he appreciated Chaudhry Nisar’s commitment that his party will never let any unconstitutional force avail the opportunity to derail the system and democracy.
Gilani said that there is hardly any country in the world which does not have problems. “I invite the opposition to come up with ideas and suggestions for restructuring public sector entities like Pakistan Railways or Pakistan International Airlines; we will discuss the suggestions and adopt them.”
In a barefaced rubbishing of Nisar’s statement on the government losing public trust, Gilani said that “irrespective of multifaceted issues which we face today, we are winning by-elections because people are satisfied with our performance.”
While responding to the issue of the much talked-about secret memo allegedly sent to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen by President Asif Ali Zardari, the PM said that the president had already issued a rebuttal.
Chaudhry Nisar said that the issue was of grave concern and the government should file a case against the Financial Times which published the article.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 17th, 2011.