DAVOS, SWITZERLAND: Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Saturday that there was no chance of any military coup in Pakistan, as the army too desired democracy and stability in the country.
In an interaction with media persons here on the sidelines of the ongoing annual World Economic Forum, Gilani said "I don't think there will be a coup in Pakistan, ever. There is no threat to democracy." Gilani said no state institution, military or the people of Pakistan wanted a coup, all were in favour of democracy.
To a question about the Swiss hostages in Pakistan, Gilani said the government was doing all for their safe recovery and the Swiss Ambassador in Pakistan was constantly in touch with the intelligence agencies of the country.
Relations with India on the mend
To a question by an Indian journalist, that if there is another Mumbai style attack, Gilani said "’ifs’ and ‘when’ do not make a story".
"We have resumed comprehensive dialogue with India," as he recalled his visit to Mohali, India to see the Cricket World Cup semi-final at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"We are in the process of normalising trade relations with India which will benefit the people of both the countries."
On the role of Pakistan in the region, Gilani said "we see Pakistan as a factor of peace, stability and development in the region," Gilani said and added that Pakistan desires good relations with all its neighbours and if India has any information it can share it with Pakistan.
Gilani said Pakistan was at the confluence of South, Central and West Asia and provided a natural land bridge and energy corridor between energy rich and fastest growing economies of the world.
He termed Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh a "genuine person" and said he too was desirous of resolving all issues with Pakistan, including the core issue of Kashmir.
He said Pakistan was actively engaged with its partners in SAARC and ECO for promoting economic cooperation and sharing prosperity among the regional countries.
Challenges facing Pakistan need to be tackled
Prime Minister Gilani pointed to the challenges the country faced. "We have to eradicate terrorism from its roots, we have to create more jobs for our young people, we have to invest in energy and physical infrastructure and to pay more attention to health and education," the Prime Minister said and added, "We are facing all these challenges upfront and squarely."
He said Pakistan today was a functioning democracy with a fully empowered parliament. "We have a vibrant civil society, free media and an independent judiciary," he said.
Prime Minister Gilani said his government has been pursuing a policy of reconciliation with other political forces in the country. "Our policy of reconciliation has resulted in the adoption of land mark 18th Amendment by consensus in both Houses of the Parliament," the Prime Minister said.
He said that Pakistan had immense potential and was endowed with an array of assets, the most important of which was its large young population.
He said under the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the President has voluntarily surrendered his powers to the Parliament and the Federation has agreed to transfer resources and responsibilities to the provinces.
He said it could rightly be described as a quiet revolution towards building a strong and prosperous Pakistan.
The Prime Minister said despite weak international economic outlook, Pakistan's economy has been doing reasonably well.
He mentioned unprecedented floods of 2010 and said these were followed by devastating flood in southern parts of the country in 2011.
"We are confident that with unmatched resilience of our people we shall emerge stronger from these challenges," Gilani said.
He said Pakistan had friendly relationship with the EU countries which were its largest trading partners and pointed out that Pakistan was in the process of concluding a five-year engagement plan with the European Union (EU).
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