While political faux pas are not unusual in Pakistan, the country’s prime minister’s recent comments take the cake – and were, funnily enough, reminiscent of the phrase “let them eat cake” made popular by French monarch Marie Antoinette.
In an interview during his five-day visit to London, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani left CNN’s Becky Anderson literally at a loss for words.
When asked about the latest Gallup poll which suggests that one-fifth of Pakistanis want to leave the country, the premier didn’t hesitate to respond: “Why don’t they just leave then”.
The matter-of-fact response was followed by, “Who’s stopping them?”
While his comments were followed by an apparent awkward silence between the interviewer and interviewee, the CNN interview clip has gone viral on the internet by fervent tweeters and bloggers.
The rest of the interview was less improvised, with the premier defending his contempt conviction and his country’s stance on drone strikes being counter-productive.
When asked, twice, if he would resign, Prime Minister Gilani said: “If
I am disqualified and notified by the [National Assembly] speaker, then yes, I will have to.”
When asked how he feels about US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s remarks that Pakistan needed to do more to fight terrorism, the premier stated: “It’s now time for them to do more”.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.