ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said that the democratic system in Pakistan has been strengthened due to politics of reconciliation and consensus building pursued by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its coalition partners.
Speaking at a dinner at the residence of Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch in Islamabad, the prime minister said the process for smooth transfer of power in the future through elections is continuing and that it is the right of the people to elect their leaders.
Gilani said that according to the Constitution, the prime minister can only be removed from his office through a ‘no confidence motion’ and the president can only be removed through impeachment.
He said it goes to the credit of PPP government and its allies that the Parliament had unanimously passed the 18th, 19th and 20th constitutional amendments.
“We restored the 1973 Constitution to its original form, announced the 7th National Finance Commission Award (NFC) and gave provincial autonomy to end the sense of deprivation in the
provinces,” he added.
He said all the political governments including that of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Muhammad Khan Junejo were removed on typical charges of corruption.
He said it was unfortunate that no democratic government in Pakistan has ever been allowed to complete its stipulated five year term. Due to this, institutions have continued to deteriorate, he reasoned.
Offering India as an example, Gilani said democracy has continued to take roots and its institutions have became strong and vibrant.
The prime minister said he has talked to the UN Human Rights body making it known that Pakistan wanted to international neutral observers during the next general elections in a bid to make the electoral process free, fair and transparent.
“If elections will not be held in a free and fair manner, then it will be dangerous for the country.”
The Prime Minister reminded that when dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf put Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry behind bars, the civil society and others protested against this action.
Gilani said he himself took part in protests and for that had spent five days in jail.
“We believe in democracy, Constitution and rule of law,” he stressed.
He recalled that once he had been elected as Prime Minister, he restored Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry without delay at six in the morning, stopping briefly to consult legal advisers.
He said if he had removed Abdul Hameed Dogar as chief justice in the way Pervez Musharraf had removed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, then there would not have been any difference between him and the dictator.
Referring again to the Constitution, Gilani said it provides for trichotomy of power and if all institutions worked within their proscribed domains then there would be no problem. But, if they chose to transgress their boundaries, confrontation is bound to happen and that it would be dangerous for the country.
“There is no chance for mistakes. Everybody knows the Prime Minister is not aggressive. And I have learnt from experience in jail where I spent five years for providing jobs to people.”
If the 1973 Constitution with its bicameral system had been followed, the incident of fall of Dhaka would not have happened, he added.Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, Minister for Religious Affairs Khurshid Shah, Senator Mushahid Hussain, former senator Waseem Sajjad, Taj Muhammad Jamali and members of the Parliament attended the dinner.