ISLAMABAD: Amid demands that he should step down, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Monday that the conviction in the contempt case against him is not related to disqualification.
Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Gilani said that the 30-second detention which, will also “qualify a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records”, did not have anything to do with disqualification.
He said that the opposition should “show some patience” because he had the right to appeal his conviction in the court.
The prime minister said that the regulation of the house was the Speaker’s prerogative and that if the speaker, Dr Fehmida Mirza, disqualifies him he will join the “people of Pakistan”.
Gilani said that former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, when found guilty of the charges against him did not resign and continued with his job and questioned the gathering as to why he was asked to resign on “moral grounds”.
He said, “Some say why did I not tender a resignation on the basis of morality, I ask, was I convicted for committing any acts of moral turpitude? I was only convicted because I acted according to the Constitution.”
Gilani said that he was “totally independent” and enjoyed immunity while discharging his duties.
“I respect the court which is why I went there thrice. Those who do not like to respect the courts had reservations the first time they were summoned.”
Lashing out at Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s (PML-N) response to his conviction, he said, “I ask today, how Nawaz Sharif managed the long journey from Adiala Prison to Jeddah.”
He said that when he was imprisoned, he received various “similar offers” but never paid heed to them.
“I spent 10 years of life in jail. I was jailed only because I gave jobs to the people of Pakistan and at that time too, I had told the court that if giving employment to the people is a crime then I will commit this crime again and again.”
The premier said that he was not digging up old cases against the Sharif brothers and that they were brought back to people’s attention by Asghar Khan and Imran Khan.
“Imran Khan proved to be better than the Sharif brothers in this regard,” said Gilani. “They were scared that before them no one else could launch a long march. They did not even wait for the decision. Forget about long march, they cannot even carry out a short march.”
Gilani said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf president Javed Hashmi had met him at his nephew’s wedding and he said that his party will take a decision only when the court decides something.
He further said that the Sharif brothers had also become party in the hearing of the Memogate scandal and could not succeed in ousting the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.
The prime minister said that he did not know of any such law which gave the court the authority to disqualify a democratically elected prime minister. To express himself better, he also read out a couplet by Ghalib:
Be khudi besabab nahin hai Ghalib, [This unconscious state - not without cause or reason, Ghalib]
Kuch toh hai jiski parda dari hai [There's something here that's surely being veiled.]