ISLAMABAD: After members of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) walked out of the National Assembly session in protest, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani challenged Nawaz Sharif to bring a no confidence motion if “he thinks he can dissolve the government.”
Speaking during the session held a day after the Supreme Court of Pakistan convicted him of contempt of court, Gilani said that he “does not have an ego problem” like members of PML-N.
The prime minister said that the opposition and PML-N should “respect the mandate of the people if they believe in democracy.”
Gilani also expressed disappointment over leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar’s reaction. “Chaudhry Nisar spoke to me a day before the hearing of the verdict in the contempt case against me and wished me luck. Today, he says that he won’t let me enter the House. Am I not an elected prime minister of this country?”
The prime minister said that no one has ever accommodated the opposition as much as his government did. “For the first time in Pakistan, the opposition received funds,” he said. “We are not talking about millions, we are talking in terms of billions of rupees.”
He said that he did this only to strengthen democracy in the country and that he believed in working with all representatives of the Parliament.
Speaking on the Supreme Court’s conviction, he said, “Ever since the case started, did anyone in this House disagree to presidential immunity? No one did. During 1956, 1962 and 1973, when the dictators can enjoyed immunity, why not the elected heads of the state?”
He said that throughout the world, heads of the state including the president, the prime minister and the foreign minister enjoy immunity and questioned, “Have I made these laws?”
Gilani said that he was convicted merely for protecting the Constitution of the country and that if that is his crime, then he is happy of doing so. “Many media reports said that I looked happy after the verdict was announced … Yes I was happy, because I protected the Constitution of this country.”
The prime minister said that no one but the speaker of the House can “disqualify him and send him home.”
Gilani said that he respected the supremacy of the Parliament and that the decision of disqualifying him was upon the custodian of the House – Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza.
“If you disqualify me today, I will be honoured. It wouldn’t matter to me only because I was convicted to guard the Constitution.”
Addressing the speaker, he said, “Today it’s me, tomorrow, there might be someone else. But I don’t want a situation where I am ousted and people wind up the whole system including this House. There shouldn’t be a situation where I am disqualified and then they say that they haven’t made the voters list and then a technocrat government comes in place. Such a step will not be accepted.”
Gilani said that those who think that a reconciliation government is wrong then they can “continue doing so”.
Contempt verdict sent to NA speaker, ECP
Express News reported that the copy of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the contempt case against Gilani was sent to Dr Mirza and the Election Commission of Pakistan.
On Thursday, a seven-member bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk had found Gilani guilty of contempt for disobeying the court’s orders to write a letter to Swiss authorities in order to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
According to the law, the speaker has to take a decision within 30 days on if the prime minister is disqualified from being a member of the assembly in light of the sentence awarded to him.
In case the speaker and chairman senate say that they will not take the decision in this regard, the case will be referred to the ECP.