Lashing out at the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that ‘forces’ are trying to stop him from presenting the fifth “friendly” budget in June.
The upcoming budget will be historical, and seal the PML-N’s fate, which is why the party is afraid of it, the premier said while talking to a delegation of Lahore Press Club at the Governor House.
Despite the fact that the Punjab government is running on a stay order, the federal government has never demanded that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is ousted from office, Gilani said.
He added that he respected Shahbaz and has never said that he does not accept him as the chief minister.
Gilani said the Sharifs are also facing court proceedings in Mehran Bank scandal, and should therefore avoid issuing irresponsible statements.
After the last by-poll in Multan, won by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Sharifs are afraid that southern Punjab will slip from their hands if the PPP establishes it as a separate province, Gilani added.
“Why were they silent when Pervez Musharraf held a fake referendum,” Gilani said, indirectly referring to the judiciary.
The stakeholders were silent when the dictator forcibly established his government with a simple majority after the 2002 election and did not hold a session of the National Assembly for several months, he added.
“We are called on but no one has called the perpetrator of the National Reconciliation Ordinance,” he added.
Gilani said he did not require any permission from the opposition leader to enter the National Assembly because he was a unanimously elected prime minister and a member of parliament, according to a statement from the PM’s media office.
The prime minister said he would uphold the supremacy of the Constitution, “come what may.”
Gilani said that Nawaz was “desperate after losing popularity,” citing the recent by-elections in Multan.
“Under the Charter of Democracy, the PPP favoured a third term for prime minister only for Nawaz. Had we not favoured this, he would have been irrelevant in national politics,” the premier said.
Referring to the NRO, the prime minister said the first NRO was the one under which Nawaz was sent into exile with an agreement that he would not take part in politics for 10 years.
“First, Nawaz vociferously denied the existence of the agreement but later confessed that it was not for 10 years but five years,” Gilani added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.