Snap election no solution: PM

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has refused to accept snap elections as a panacea to the country’s problems.


Agencies July 03, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has refused to accept snap elections as a panacea to the country’s problems and insisted that all issues could be settled by the end of the five-year constitutional term of the PPP-led government.

“All democratic governments face challenges and we, too, are facing such challenges, but our way of dealing with it is positive, we are taking along all political forces,” he said while speaking at a lunch hosted in honour of media persons at the Prime Minister House.

The statement comes amid fierce debate among political circles on the issue of bogus degrees of lawmakers. The debate has also sparked speculation about mid-term elections in the country.

But Premier Gilani seemed to have shifted the onus of responsibility to the judiciary, saying that the judiciary has not delivered timely judgments on the issue. “The graduation condition had been in place since 2002. Had the judiciary given timely rulings, the prevailing situation would have not been developed. The judiciary has not discharged its obligations in this regard,” he said.

Judges of the superior judiciary spoke through their judgments till

1999 and their photographs did not even find way into the press, but the standards have changed now, he said.

Gilani said that parliament was a sovereign institution and it could legislate on the degrees issue if it willed so. “But no consultation has been made so far in this respect,” he added.

The country owes everything to democracy, if there is no democracy then nothing, including the judiciary, parliament and the media, will be left behind, the premier said. “We will stabilise democracy and will counter every conspiracy. We have already rendered sacrifices for the sake of democracy and will continue to give such sacrifices,” he continued.

Premier Gilani said the PPP-led government was working according to the Constitution and those political forces without representation in parliament, were talking about mid-term polls. “These political parties are now taking part in by-elections though they did not participate in the general polls,” he added. Gilani said the government, from the first day, had introduced the policy of three “Ds” – dialogue, development and deterrence – and realising the threat of terrorism brought all political forces, inside and outside parliament, on one platform so that a unanimous policy could be formed.

“Some religious parties criticised this policy at that time but now they are saying that there is no room for terrorism in Islam,” he said, adding that terrorist attacks and terrorism are a curse.

The prime minister said that crushing terrorism was still the government’s top priority. “There should be a national policy on security,” he said, adding that the government believed one of the biggest reasons of terrorism was poverty, unemployment and lack of educational facilities.

“We have cleared it to the Friends of Democratic Pakistan and other world forces that military action is not a complete solution to the issue as it is carried out in a critical situation,” he said.

About the situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, the prime minister said that the US and its coalition partners would take Pakistan into confidence if any headway was made in talks with the Afghan Taliban.

“We united the whole nation against terrorism and convinced the international community that addressing the problems of poverty and ignorance was a must for elimination of terrorism. Military operation was no solution to any problem, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2010.

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