Shamsi airbase never used to fire drones: PM

Published: July 4, 2011
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani addressing the press conference. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani addressing the press conference. PHOTO: EXPRESS


Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani asserted on Sunday that the US was never given access to Shamsi airbase for carrying out drone attacks, insisting that Washington was given access to the base only for surveillance purposes by the previous government.

Addressing a press conference which he had “specifically called to clarify some issues of national importance”, Prime Minister Gilani said that his government has raised the matter of Washington’s control over the base at the highest level with the US government.

Commenting on the ongoing spat between the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the prime minister said that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s “dream of mid-term elections being held in the country will never be fulfilled” as the political leadership is united on major issues. “It is time for the general elections not mid-term elections,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif better prepare for the next general elections,” he added.

Prime Minister Giani said his government has gotten three budgets approved and is planning for the fourth budget and will not let any party derail democracy. “Forces planning mischief must prepare for the general elections, they have no other choice,” he said.

The premier said that highs and lows are part of politics and the PPP will continue its policy of reconciliation as it is the ideology of its former chairman Benazir Bhutto. “Political matters keep changing on a daily basis but anything can be resolved through reconciliation,” he said.

Discussing the Muttahida Qaumi Moverment’s (MQM) decision to quit the coalition government, Prime Minister Gilani said the PPP will try once again to form coalition with the MQM. “It (MQM) has always supported the PPP, be it the 18th amendment, the 19th amendment or the NFC awards,” he added.

“No party can single-handedly solve Pakistan’s problems. Any future government will also be formed through coalitions because no single party would be able to make the government,” the prime minister said. He also stated that the PPP favours the formation of a Seraiki province while President Asif Ali Zardari has instructed that this policy be made a part of PPP manifesto.

Talking about the electricity crisis in the country, he said that electricity demand has increased due to a rise in the number of development projects. He claimed that 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity has been added to the national grid since the PPP government came into power. The prime minister vowed that an additional 2,000 MW of electricity will be added to the grid very soon.

He said that prices of petroleum have been raised due to a hike in global oil prices. He said that the increase in gas prices will not affect domestic users as they have been raised for the commercial sector to control the supply and demand of natural gas in the country. The prime minister said that 1,100 kilometre of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline has been constructed while he has given special instructions for the renovation and strengthening of dykes and embankments throughout the country. “We have been monitoring the flood situation closely in the country,” he added.

The prime minister also said that Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan have been improving and that Islamabad has raised the issue of cross-border attacks by the Afghan military and militants in
bilateral talks.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Jul 3, 2011 - 7:17PM

    What a circusRecommend

  • Noor Nabi
    Jul 3, 2011 - 7:17PM

    If this is true Prime Minister, then why is your Defense Minister making nonsensical statements? It seems you have a cabinet member who is totally out of control.Recommend

  • M.Akthar
    Jul 3, 2011 - 7:24PM
  • wah wah
    Jul 3, 2011 - 7:52PM

    oh come on, do you really think he knows what he is talking about? do you??Recommend

  • Pradeep
    Jul 3, 2011 - 8:02PM

    I guess next we will hear from the Pak Govt is that there is no place called “Shamsi Air Base”Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jul 3, 2011 - 8:15PM

    Gilani also claimed that the government will not take any external orders for the North Waziristan operation. “The government will decide on its own when to start the operation,” Gilani said.

    The days of milking the USA based on promised offensives are over – and I would venture the days of milking the USA for sham offensives like what occurred in S Waziristan are over. This time if you decide to fight your going to do so on your own and for your own reasons — might be the first legitimate test of the Pakistan army. If I were a betting man I would venture that Pakistan does nothing — that’s what the American’s believe.Recommend

  • Mastishhk
    Jul 3, 2011 - 8:28PM

    Another report tells us that US has refused to vacate the Shamsi Airbase. Our PM tells us that they never allowed US to carry out drone attacks from here. Now what are we supposed to believe in such a scenario. If the Airbase is not under our control how can we allow or disallow the US to carry out drone attacks??????Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 3, 2011 - 8:29PM

    ok, so what exactly was it used for??? Can you enlighten us as to the actual ownweship of it and the amount of fees that were charged to the US for the use???Recommend

  • imran qadir bhat
    Jul 3, 2011 - 9:50PM

    It seems media, politicians, and common folks are suffering from an acute case of verbal diarrhoea.Recommend

  • Ris
    Jul 3, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Authorities are taking orders from these idiots. What a solid pyramid scheme. The normal officer has been turned into an ape and would kill or be killed on the orders of these people. I wonder sometimes whether army and police ever have existential thoughts.Recommend

  • Khalid Ahmed
    Jul 3, 2011 - 11:01PM

    A couple of weeks back this same government said that Shamsi is in some Arab sheikh’s control.Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Jul 3, 2011 - 11:07PM

    Next thing out of his mouth will be”Pig’s can fly”Recommend

  • Samad Ali
    Jul 3, 2011 - 11:19PM

    I do not believe a word he says. he has been telling lies and fooling the people.
    History will judge him to be one of the worse PMs of the country.
    The people are suffering, and our leaders go for medical check ups to London………………….Recommend

  • blithe
    Jul 3, 2011 - 11:59PM

    Gilani, your credibility is zero!

    Sadly, you do not have the stature to be a national leader.
    You are good for nothing except petty provincial politics and creating new provinces.

    The sooner we get rid of you , the better. Recommend

  • DA
    Jul 4, 2011 - 12:42AM

    Just amused :))Recommend

  • parvez
    Jul 4, 2011 - 12:59AM

    David Ignatius in his book ‘ Bloodmoney ‘ on Pakistan / USA relationship sums up the situation very well when one of the characters in the book says ‘ Everybody lies ‘.Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 4, 2011 - 1:36AM

    The Shamsi Airbase is not in the control of Pakistan, UAE or the US, it is “out of control”.
    Seriously it appears that the powerless political leadership is not told the truth by the generals about defense related matters, let alone the full story of Shamsi Airbase and OBL’s home in an army base. It would have been wise on the part of politicians not to make any statement if they do not have full knowledge and info. The irony is how the criticism got shifted from the constant failure of army to disclose the truth to the political leadership!Recommend

  • Sameer
    Jul 4, 2011 - 4:16AM

    He is 98% sure he is Prime Minister of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Arindom
    Jul 4, 2011 - 6:30AM

    1) This is what happens when you cede large territories to other countries ( parts of Gilgit to China).

    2) This is what happens when you donot show any interest in governing parts of your own country (FATA — left to the wild frontier tribesmen, beyond the pale of Law)

    3) This is what happens when you sell your own countries air bases to Shieks ( Shamsi to the UAE and how many others?)

    4) This is what happens when you rent out large tracks of fertile land to rich Arabs ( leasing out thousands of acres for Contract Farming – techincally owned for the buyers).

    5) This is what happens when you strike deals with terrorists ( Strategic Assets and deals with the Waziristan militants)Recommend

  • hadi
    Jul 4, 2011 - 7:07AM

    Thats what she said!Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jul 4, 2011 - 9:10AM

    @imran qadir bhat:

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jul 4, 2011 - 9:12AM

    Once again a FUNNY Statement by the PM, not surprising at all as he is in the habit of making such statements.Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 4, 2011 - 9:53AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Please stop fooling and deceiving the nation by giving such these types of hypocritical statements because when you will allow the enemies of Islam and the muslims to use your lands and air bases and will allow to enter them in your home intentionally and provide them full and foolproof security and protection then how can you expect that the enemies of Islam and the muslims shall not harm the muslims.And if you are thinking so then you are living in fool’s paradise,star gazing and day dreaming.Please don’t see such these types of dreams.Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Jul 4, 2011 - 11:27AM

    100% right.
    Why was the country created when sovereignity, independence and nationhood had no place in the culture of the people?
    Is pakistan so weak to be hoodwinked by a small city state of Dubai by handing over its airport to another country?
    Are Pakistanis so worthless that any stupid war lord should decide the type of life we got to have.
    We must take stock of the situation and take control of our destiny. Recommend

  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 4, 2011 - 1:39PM

    @imran qadir bhat:
    I think its a more of the case that Politicians are suffering from selective Amnesia , when questioned about anything related to US and war on terror !!!Recommend

  • Ammad Qureshi
    Jul 4, 2011 - 1:48PM

    This is ridiculous on the part of our Govt,because some anonymous American officials are saying that Shamsi Air base is under their control and they are not vacating it, On the contrary to this our Prime Minister,Defense Minister and Information Minister is saying some thing else..their statements are not being matched.they either themselves are fool or on the other hand they are trying to be-fool this nation. They are trying to bewilder us.. No one in the present Govt have a crystal clear vision about future. Every body here is promoting Nepotism,favoritism and having its lion’s share..No body here is thinking about Nation or country but for themselves.
    May Allah bless this country and save us from our enemies.
    Ammad Qureshi

  • Hedgefunder
    Jul 4, 2011 - 4:53PM

    What is the point of having Defence Minister ??
    You may as well same some money and get rid of the Ministry, get COAS to send one of his chaps to attend Cabinet Meetings and let them pay for this department out of their Budget!!!
    It will save some funds and actually will perhaps perform better, as they are the decision makers in the end.Recommend

  • Safir afkhan.
    Jul 4, 2011 - 6:45PM

    OH really u guys all ready sold the country is there only shamsi base left which is sold
    to dubai. kahan hai khudi tunahri.Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Jul 4, 2011 - 8:11PM

    @Safir afkhan.:
    Safir This forum being English can you please keep it that way, it helps those of us who do not understand Pakistani language. Thanks a bunch!!Recommend

  • harry stone
    Jul 4, 2011 - 8:47PM

    Well you get the government and the nation that the people want. It would appear PAK becoming a failed state is acceptable.Recommend

  • Jul 4, 2011 - 9:32PM

    And the PM never lies.

    I agree with him on the midterm elections thing though. Prepare for general Elections. Let em complete their term so they dont cry victimization next time.Recommend

  • Baba Jee
    Jul 5, 2011 - 8:34AM

    There is nothing common between Politics and Morality…..
    Our Leaders are all good politicians!Recommend

  • bulbul
    Jul 5, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Yousuf Raza Gilani never used to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan: Public of Democratic Pakistan 2020Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Jul 5, 2011 - 4:50PM

    The said Airbase is not used to fire drones but use drones to fire at. people.Recommend

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