ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani proudly declared in the National Assembly on Monday that the house by a majority vote approved a pro-democracy bill.
Congratulating Awami National Party head Asfandyar Wali for moving the resolution in favour of democracy, Gilani thanked his party members, coalition members and the Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Islam Fazal for passing the resolution.
He denied that the government wanted a clash of institutions, that the resolution had been moved days before the Supreme Court decision.
He said that the message they wanted to give, to the world, call a session of the parliament and debate this important issue and pass a resolution that this is not a rubber stamp assembly, that the democracy was not frail, and that this Parliament was sovereign, and supreme.
Gilani, said that they [Parliament] were sovereign, “we restored the constitution, if there is no democracy, then everything will end - we all will go - not separately but everyone together.”
Government being punished for sins of NRO’s creator
Gilani touched upon the Supreme Court verdict in the National Reconciliation Ordinance case. He said that the current government was being punished for it, while its creator was saying he would return to Pakistan upon hearing a call to duty.
“Those who created the NRO, some are out of the country, the rest are here, Gilani said, before adding that if there was a question of justice then “the house wants to know who made the NRO? If there are punishments for those who benefitted from it, there should be some punishments for those who made the NRO as well.”
He went on to say that he had been summoned by the court on January 19, and respecting the courts, he would appear before it on January 19.
Opposition walks out
As the Premier started his speech, the opposition, members of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, and Pakistan Muslim League- Sherpao group walked out.
Gilani, though he did not refer to the walk out, did take a swipe at them. He said that he had become Prime Minister unanimously. While the opposition wanted to come into government after moving a no-confidence motion, Gilani said, "let me reminded them that they would need need support from the same house."
“We have a public mandate, you [opposition] should not disrespect it,” the Premier said.
“We do not need a certificate for patriotism from anyone”
Gilani also answered his critics who of late had called their moves akin to treason. “Before I took oath before General Musharraf as Prime Minister, I ordered the release of judges, do you think he would have liked it?” asked Gilani.
Adding that releasing the judges after winning elections, how could they be called unpatriotic?
He said that his 'species', which were loyal and were committed to the ideologies and their parties, were an endangered species.
Gilani said that they were committed to democracy, strengthen state institutions, make the Parliament sovereign.