Democracy or dictatorship?: Resolute Gilani paves way for govt resolution

ANP chief moves pro-democracy resolution; Nisar calls it ‘unnecessary’.

Zia Khan/qamar Zaman January 13, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.

The premier remained composed on Friday, despite a raring opposition and potentially wavering allies in the face of a deepening row with the military and the judiciary – and the government also managed to introduce a highly-anticipated resolution in the house.

The resolution was moved, symbolically enough, by the PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches.

Before the resolution, addressing a special session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he would prefer going to the people over begging for the opposition’s support for a fresh vote of confidence in parliament.

“I do not need a vote of confidence,” Gilani said, adding that he was elected prime minister unanimously.

The session, it was widely believed, had been convened in the wake of the Supreme Court warning President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister of disqualification over the non-implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.

But the prime minister snubbed the notion that his government was afraid of the NRO at the get-go.

“We have not come for the NRO. We do not need your support to be saved from the military and have not come for a clash of institutions. We have also not come to be shaheeds (martyrs),” the premier said, responding to the leader of the opposition’s query seeking a justification for the ‘emergency session.’

“Somebody should tell us the reason for convening this session and what you are afraid of,” the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said earlier.

“We have to decide whether there should be democracy or dictatorship in the country … democracy should not be punished for our mistakes”.

He said the opposition could initiate a no-confidence motion against him, but added that it should avoid the temptation: “If a new stage is set up, it will be for neither of us (the government or opposition) – as was the case in 1999,” he said.

The premier repeatedly said he was not against any institution, citing his decision of freeing judges from house arrest.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Shah said the government wanted to introduce a resolution, with the support of the opposition, to keep sovereignty of the house intact.

Gilani’s speech was followed by the highly-anticipated resolution, which is expected to be put to vote in the next session on Monday. Despite having a majority in the house to pass it, the premier said, the government would wait for the opposition’s input.

The resolution said that the trichotomy of powers should be fully respected and all institutions should operate strictly within the Constitution.

Chaudhry Nisar, however, said the opposition did not agree with the last clause of the resolution which states: “This house endorses and supports the efforts made by the political leadership for strengthening democracy and reposes full confidence and trust in them.”

“If we had the numerical strength, a no-confidence motion against the government could have been the first thing we had done,” Nisar said, adding that the resolution was “unnecessary”.

“We will not welcome any unconstitutional step,” he, however, added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.


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Mohammad Nafees | 11 years ago | Reply Nothing can be said of a nation whose educated people fail to decide what way the country should be ruled - through democracy or dictatorship. When dictators take the reign in their hands we start looking for democracy and when democracy come to power we start looking towards dictators. We even fail to notice the calculated efforts of anti-democracy elements in driving a campaign of negative publicity against the democracy right from the time it comes to power. They did this trick to Mujibur Rehman, Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif and now they have Zardari on their target. A non-national OBL is dearer to them than their own national politicians. A non-national Mansoor Ijaz is more reliable to them than their own Ambassador. If DG, ISI rejects the order of the PM to join the US investigation of NATO attack that killed Pakistani soldiers, nobody consider it as a disobedience and illegal. When DG ISI goes on a foreign trip to meet Mansoor Ijaz without PM's permission, nobody is bothered. When Pakistan Navy officials play a role of informers for the anti state elements that attack PNS, Mehran, kill PN personnel and destroy the aircraft, our media and educated class blame outsiders. What it shows is nothing other than the blind hatred that disallows us to realize that all mistakes, illegalities, anti-state activities need to be treated equally no matter who commit it. Partisan approach is not going to serve the national interest very well.
Feroz | 11 years ago | Reply To those with blinkers on their eyes YES there is a threat to Democracy ? If no single Government has been allowed to complete its term, the facts should have spoken enough. Not every government was voted out on the floor of the house. To those who love Judiciary there is nothing wrong with it but please look at the selective activism. Many of the Judges who derailed Democracy and took oath under PCO in 1999, cannot be lovers of Democracy Gilani is a Democrat at heart and has good intentions, if citizens are not happy find another MNA to lead else deserve a brutal Dictator. MNA's must stay united and vote for a Powerful Parliament. The people have sent you to Power to govern, not fiddle.
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