Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani vowed on Sunday that his government would remain in power even after October 13 when the apex court resumes hearing a petition on an amnesty law it had cancelled almost ten months ago.
Though the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was declared null and void by the Supreme Court in December 2009, the government has failed to implement the verdict – and prosecute scores of parliamentarians and hundreds of bureaucrats who received amnesty under the controversial law. On September 27, the government sought a two-week delay in the hearing of the petition.
Speaking to reporters in Lahore, the prime minister brushed aside rumours of any threat to the government and voiced confidence that the army, the judiciary and other institutions were out to strengthen democracy in the country. “The president, the prime minister and the army chief do not meet just for photo sessions,” Gilani said while lamenting the speculative stories in the media about the troika’s meeting. He pointed out that there are other times too when the troika holds routine meetings which are not in the knowledge of the media.
Gilani said that he was engaged in negotiations with the president over appointing a new National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman. In addition, he said, the law ministry, the establishment division and the NAB were reviewing the list of NRO beneficiaries.
Turning his attention to the cross-border attacks that claimed the lives of three Pakistani soldiers, he said that if needed, the government would take stern action in the country’s interest. Already, Nato forces have apologised for the unwarranted attack. But Gilani said that before Islamabad could allow Nato to resume supplies through Pakistan it would re-evaluate the security situation.
Also on Sunday, the prime minister met Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. Discussing the after-effects of the flood during the meeting, the prime minister expressed that all the political parties were united in working towards the rehabilitation of flood survivors.
“The federal government has pioneered a new political culture in the country through the introduction of politics of reconciliation,” he said, adding that the government had put an end to the politics of confrontation and victimisation. The prime minister said that the political atmosphere must not be hampered due to the differences between any two individuals.
The governor apprised the prime minister on the ongoing relief work in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 4th, 2010.
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