ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Thursday said the verdict of Supreme Court against him did not disqualify him from the office of prime minister, since he did not commit a criminal offence by not writing letter to the Swiss Courts.
“The charges against me are not of criminal nature. In a civil charge, there cannot be disqualification,” he said while interacting with correspondents from the local and foreign media, at the Prime Minister House on Thursday.
Minister Gilani said that he had followed the Constitution and did not have moral turpitude on him as the Article 248-1 of the Constitution grants immunity to the President.
He said the clause regarding immunity had never been debated, nor interpreted in the country’s 64-year history.
Asked about the calls of a long march by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), he lamented that they had not shown patience for the detailed judgment of the Supreme Court order to be released.
“I do not need their (PML-N’s) recognition. We do not need the alternative options but will follow the Constitution and rule of law,” he said.
The Prime Minister, on the passage of resolution in the National Assembly for the creation of provinces termed it a step forward and in accordance with 40-year desire of the people of Southern Punjab.
“A national message by the people of Southern Punjab has been sent across,” he said and mentioned that he phoned the political leaders of Awami National Party, Mutahidda Qaumi Movement, Jamiat
Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), Balochistan National Party, PPP (Sherpao) to thank for their support in this regard.
PML-N ‘lost the game’ over south Punjab
On PML-N’s stance for not supporting the creation of Southern Punjab province and bringing resolution on other provinces, he said that today they had “lost the game” and they were trying to divert attention from the real issues.
“They (PML-N) have been isolated and totally exposed. They are trying to gain from both sides, being simultaneously in the power and in the opposition,” he argued.
He said the government was moving ahead by taking along all political forces while the PML-N was making its “solo flight”.
Asked would he reciprocate by not recognising the Punjab chief minister like the PML-N had declared for the Prime Minister, Gilani said he had respect for the mandate held by Shahbaz Sharif and believed in the rule of law.
“I have always supported them and will always do in future as well. Rather the doors are open for them,” he added.
‘Sharif Court’ verdict hampers appointment of CEC
Prime Minister Gilani on the appointment of new Chief Election Commissioner said he had sent names to the Leader of the Opposition for suggestions, as according to the Constitution, the appointment is made after mutual consultation of both leaders of the House and the Opposition.
He lamented the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition, who in his letter today responded that he did not recognise Gilani as the Prime Minister.
He said before the detailed judgement of the Supreme Court, the `Sharif court’ had given its verdict that was hampering the process of appointment of new Chief Election Commissioner.
When asked whether he believed that all problems were arising from the corridors of judiciary, Gilani said, “I cannot say that the problems are coming from the judiciary but from the people who are trying to influence them.”
The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Law was taking care of the appointment of new judges of the Supreme Court.
Ties with US in accordance with Parliamentary review
To questions regarding status of ties with the United States, Gilani said discussions were in process with the US in line with the guidelines of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
Whether Pakistan would attend the upcoming Chicago summit, the Prime Minister said it would be decided after the ongoing discussions with the United States.
“I think we are moving forward in our relations with the United States. The decision about Pakistan’s participation in the summit depends on if the things are sorted out well in time,” he said.
Gilani said at several forums including the recent Nuclear Energy Conference in Seoul, he conveyed to US President Barrack Obama that Pakistan was ready to support an Afghan-led reconciliatory process in Afghanistan.