LAHORE: Asking the army to provide security to Mansoor Ijaz as if he is some head of the state or someone more important than the American president is all “rubbish”, said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday.
Speaking to the media outside Arfa Karim’s residence in Lahore, Gilani said that the government will have to spend billions of rupees in order to arrange for the army for Ijaz’s security. “It seems as if a viceroy is coming over,” he said.
He added that Ijaz is not just insincere to Pakistan but is also insincere to himself, and it is against the law and the Constitution to give him such protocol.
“The impression the country is giving the world that a man whose credibility is questionable has shaken up the whole country is a dangerous message,” the premier added.
The past record of Ijaz indicates that he has always spewed venom against the establishment and the government of Pakistan, he added.
When asked whether Ijaz will be put on the Exit Control List on his return, Gilani remarked that Ijaz is a foreigner and not a Pakistani. “The matter is sub-judice in the judicial commission and the parliamentary committee. Let them decide on the matter.”
Gilani added: “Under the rules of business, under the Constitution and under the system, it is the duty of the Ministry of Interior to provide him [Ijaz] with security.”
Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan
The prime minister sought to quell rumours that Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who is representing Gilani in the contempt proceedings, had asked Gilani not to accept former law minister Babar Awan as part of his cabinet. “Aitzaz never asked me to not include Awan. The PPP will decide on its future course vis-a-vis Awan and I will accept what the party decides,” the PM said.
Gilani said that those who are threatening to besiege Parliament House if Nato supply routes are reopened should first read the recommendation of the parliamentary committee formed to make the decision on restoration of supplies. “Neither did the government ask them [the opposition forces] before suspension nor will it seek their permission before resumption of supplies.”
Letter to Swiss courts
In a surprise change of stance, Gilani said refused to talk about whether the government will write to Swiss authorities. “The matter is subjudice and everyone, including the media and party members, should refrain from discussion on it,” he said, in an about turn from his earlier statements where he clearly said that he will respect the court’s ruling.
Dodging question on why former US ambassador Husain Haqqani was living in the Prime Minister House in Islamabad, the premier turned on the media, saying Haqqani was innocent but had to resign to pacify the media.
As speculations abound that the government is considering calling for early elections, the prime minister said snap polls are not a solution for Pakistan’s problems. He said that the opposition’s strategy was to embarrass the government but swiftly pointed out that there had been no political prisoners during the current government’s rule.