Democracy or dictatorship?: Resolute Gilani paves way for govt resolution

Published: January 13, 2012

The resolution was moved by PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches. PHOTO:FILE

ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.

The premier remained composed on Friday, despite a raring opposition and potentially wavering allies in the face of a deepening row with the military and the judiciary – and the government also managed to introduce a highly-anticipated resolution in the house.

The resolution was moved, symbolically enough, by the PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches.

Before the resolution, addressing a special session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he would prefer going to the people over begging for the opposition’s support for a fresh vote of confidence in parliament.

“I do not need a vote of confidence,” Gilani said, adding that he was elected prime minister unanimously.

The session, it was widely believed, had been convened in the wake of the Supreme Court warning President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister of disqualification over the non-implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.

But the prime minister snubbed the notion that his government was afraid of the NRO at the get-go.

“We have not come for the NRO. We do not need your support to be saved from the military and have not come for a clash of institutions. We have also not come to be shaheeds (martyrs),” the premier said, responding to the leader of the opposition’s query seeking a justification for the ‘emergency session.’

“Somebody should tell us the reason for convening this session and what you are afraid of,” the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said earlier.

“We have to decide whether there should be democracy or dictatorship in the country … democracy should not be punished for our mistakes”.

He said the opposition could initiate a no-confidence motion against him, but added that it should avoid the temptation: “If a new stage is set up, it will be for neither of us (the government or opposition) – as was the case in 1999,” he said.

The premier repeatedly said he was not against any institution, citing his decision of freeing judges from house arrest.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah said the government wanted to introduce a resolution, with the support of the opposition, to keep sovereignty of the house intact.

Gilani’s speech was followed by the highly-anticipated resolution, which is expected to be put to vote in the next session on Monday. Despite having a majority in the house to pass it, the premier said, the government would wait for the opposition’s input.

The resolution said that the trichotomy of powers should be fully respected and all institutions should operate strictly within the Constitution.

Chaudhry Nisar, however, said the opposition did not agree with the last clause of the resolution which states: “This house endorses and supports the efforts made by the political leadership for strengthening democracy and reposes full confidence and trust in them.”

“If we had the numerical strength, a no-confidence motion against the government could have been the first thing we had done,” Nisar said, adding that the resolution was “unnecessary”.

“We will not welcome any unconstitutional step,” he, however, added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Nabeel
    Jan 13, 2012 - 1:44PM

    “People come and go, but it was important to protect the parliament”

    Please, stick with ur words this time and give ur resignation, announce fresh polls!

    Recommend

  • Sarah
    Jan 13, 2012 - 1:47PM

    please leave with dignity.

    Recommend

  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 13, 2012 - 1:53PM

    Tired of this word ‘democracy’. A government that got elected on the back of, allegedly, 30.5million false votes skipped the democratic cornerstone right on the first day. People’s voice is not being heard and contrary to democratic principles, the problems of people are not being solved but have multiplied several times over in the past 4 years. Recommend

  • nnk
    Jan 13, 2012 - 2:10PM

    The question is not a choice for the parliament between democracy or dictatorship. There is no threat to democracy as clearly stated by both the SC and the ISPR. The proposed Resolution is nothing more than a sign of utter panic by the ruling party.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Jan 13, 2012 - 2:24PM

    If a no confidence motion is moved in the parliament against the sitting Prime Minister than PM is liable to take a vote of confidence.

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  • KB
    Jan 13, 2012 - 2:37PM

    You mean, ‘I can’t get Vote of Confidence’?

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  • Afaaq
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:00PM

    Until all the institutions are completely destroyed. He missed this part.

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  • kamran
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:09PM

    This shows he and his party save there interest only they did not care about public interest

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  • Aahmed
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:20PM

    @ sara: with “dignity”. May be all he has but dignity.

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  • daredevil
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:31PM

    The Prime Minister is not taking the vote of confidence because he knows it would be lot less than the one he got in March 2008.

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  • Waqas Rafiq
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:32PM

    people definitely come and go but please you leave right now, and help a country for the free fair elections!

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  • zubair rabbni
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:33PM

    PM know that no one has confidence on him

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  • justice to be done
    Jan 13, 2012 - 3:34PM

    we need dictatorship … as elsewhere in the muslim world ;)

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  • Karim
    Jan 13, 2012 - 4:01PM

    I am fed up of this word Democracy……….from those who has no regard in essence.

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  • nskhan
    Jan 13, 2012 - 4:16PM

    Option number 6 given by Supreme Court can save all. Go for early polls and see what people want. This act of PP can raise the stature of PM also. Have a courage and take bold step of fresh new elctions please.

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  • Jan 13, 2012 - 4:40PM

    Yes prime minister u r always right

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  • Waqas Rafiq
    Jan 13, 2012 - 4:42PM

    We don’t need you …neither we accept you as a PM!

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  • Alizai
    Jan 13, 2012 - 5:36PM

    Lolz! What would this stupidly formulated resolution show, even if voted for?

    That we have a parlimentary system? Don’t we know that?

    The question of the resolution should rather have been:

    “Should we(the Government) sign the docs to the Swiss Authorities?”

    and further: “Do you believe HH would act on his own in approaching Mullen?”

    And finally:

    “Are you satisfied with our mode of rule?”

    Only this would prove how many sincere people we have in the parliament, who can see the writing on the wall and not ignore it.

    What a nonsense resolution being drafted, a panic call at the best.

    Regards.

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  • Kashif Iqbal
    Jan 13, 2012 - 5:41PM

    You don’t need a vote of confidence.. Kion bhai aap saltanat-e-hindustan k Badshah hain kia?

    Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jan 13, 2012 - 6:16PM

    Lol !!!!! So now you decide that you don’t need vote of confidence ????
    I suppose you consider that, as very democratic and constitutional act !!!!
    PPP and this Govt is well passed its sell by date, they are just there as no one in their right mind wants to take over the baggage and problems that are facing the Nation on !!!!

    Recommend

  • Abbas from the US
    Jan 13, 2012 - 6:42PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    If a vote of no confidence does not attain a majority of votes, the result itself is a vote of confidence in the civilian government. By the way how are you doing Mr Siddiqui, it probably has been a long time.

    Recommend

  • Hamood
    Jan 13, 2012 - 9:53PM

    The writing is on the wall. This govt’s days are numbered. Enough of the loot and plunder, mismanagement and gross incompetence.

    Recommend

  • John B
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:33PM

    I have been reading the comments of this and other news items related to this.

    What I am surprised is that alomost all overtly support the coup or dissolution of the govt rather than supporting the PAK PM as a supreme institution to protect.

    The present scenario is a classic case of constitutional crisis. If ever a time to support and firmly establish democracy in PAK , it is now.

    The present government will survive a vote of confidence but will call for early election. What is important though, before the early election the PM office should establish it’s supremacy, for the new PM to enjoy the office.

    I understand PAK don’t like present Govt. But does PAK want PM office or ISI office as their seat of government. Recommend

  • truepak
    Jan 13, 2012 - 11:53PM

    You are not getting any vote of confidenceRecommend

  • K B Kale
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:27AM

    @John B:
    Dear Mr John,
    When I read many comments here, I remember the same word for Pakistani educated class: “Gumrah”
    If this is the situation of educated elite, what can one expect of ‘man-on-the-street’ Pakistani?
    Democracy takes 50+ years to take roots. Pakistanis should learn to be patient.

    Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Jan 14, 2012 - 6:40AM

    I remember PPP’s words on a vote of confidence initiated by PML-N in Punjab assembly during one PPP’s previous tenure… “it is a political stunt as it has no constitutional basis” said the now deceased Salman Taseer, then a MPA and leader of opposition.

    So it was a stunt then and now it has magically become essential to uphold parliament

    Recommend

  • anybodyagree
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:50AM

    ANP the only true political party in the history of Pakistan, all others are the creations of establishment / agencies.
    PTI is there new edition, every times we were FOOLED . . .??

    Recommend

  • Usman Shahid
    Jan 14, 2012 - 9:21AM

    Yesterday zia asked the quesiton ” Islam or not? if yes i am your leader” today only face is changed, Gilani is asking “Democracy or not? if yes i am your leader”. Mentality never changes in Pakistani Politics

    Recommend

  • kamran
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:14AM

    what people want

    democracy or load shedding
    democracy or close all industry
    democracy or law and order
    democracy or “faqay”
    democracy or corruption

    this resolution anp put in assembly must consist of betterment of people but they are saving there corruption

    Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jan 14, 2012 - 10:25AM

    People of Pakistan did not have a good experience of either democracy or military rule. The present govt days are numbered and Gilani is making his last ditch efforts which may only turn out to be futile. The people must give a firm verdict during next elections which would give a strong message to future rulers that corruption and bad governance will result in its fall.

    Recommend

  • observer
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:06AM

    @Kamran

    Brother, looks like emotion got the better of your reason. Just consider,

    democracy or load shedding- Means if you reject Democracy you want load shedding
    democracy or close all industry- Means if you reject Democracy you want closure of industry
    democracy or law and order
    democracy or “faqay”- Means if you reject Democracy you want faqay
    democracy or corruption- Means if you reject Democracy you want corruption

    Is that what you meant?

    Recommend

  • MAHER ALI
    Jan 14, 2012 - 11:10AM

    If this is democracy, we weer better in Dictatorship…

    Recommend

  • Feroz
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:20PM

    To those with blinkers on their eyes YES there is a threat to Democracy ? If no single Government has been allowed to complete its term, the facts should have spoken enough. Not every government was voted out on the floor of the house. To those who love Judiciary there is nothing wrong with it but please look at the selective activism. Many of the Judges who derailed Democracy and took oath under PCO in 1999, cannot be lovers of Democracy
    Gilani is a Democrat at heart and has good intentions, if citizens are not happy find another MNA to lead else deserve a brutal Dictator. MNA’s must stay united and vote for a Powerful Parliament. The people have sent you to Power to govern, not fiddle.Recommend

  • Mohammad Nafees
    Jan 14, 2012 - 8:56PM

    Nothing can be said of a nation whose educated people fail to decide what way the country should be ruled – through democracy or dictatorship. When dictators take the reign in their hands we start looking for democracy and when democracy come to power we start looking towards dictators. We even fail to notice the calculated efforts of anti-democracy elements in driving a campaign of negative publicity against the democracy right from the time it comes to power. They did this trick to Mujibur Rehman, Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and now they have Zardari on their target. A non-national OBL is dearer to them than their own national politicians. A non-national Mansoor Ijaz is more reliable to them than their own Ambassador. If DG, ISI rejects the order of the PM to join the US investigation of NATO attack that killed Pakistani soldiers, nobody consider it as a disobedience and illegal. When DG ISI goes on a foreign trip to meet Mansoor Ijaz without PM’s permission, nobody is bothered. When Pakistan Navy officials play a role of informers for the anti state elements that attack PNS, Mehran, kill PN personnel and destroy the aircraft, our media and educated class blame outsiders. What it shows is nothing other than the blind hatred that disallows us to realize that all mistakes, illegalities, anti-state activities need to be treated equally no matter who commit it. Partisan approach is not going to serve the national interest very well.Recommend

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