ISLAMABAD: Visiting US lawmakers on Friday assured their support to the civilian setup in Pakistan just a day after the adoption of a resolution by the National Assembly pledging to safeguard democracy in the country.
The US Congressional delegation is led by Jim Marshall and includes four of his colleagues Jane Harman, Peter Welech, Charies Dent and Cynthia Lummis.
A press statement issued after the meeting quoted members of the delegation as saying that “US administration as well as Congress strongly desired for continuation and strengthening of democracy in Pakistan and believe that its relationship with Pakistan is absolutely grounded on civilian and constitution based set-up”.
The statement said that the delegation informed the prime minister that they had highlighted the same sentiments during their meeting with the Chief of the Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
The US legislators’ remarks have a special significance in the wake of a recent statement by MQM chief Altaf Hussain who had urged “patriotic generals” to play their role against corrupt politicians.
The prime minister appreciated President Obama’s support in coping with the massive challenges posed by floods, war against terror and efforts to strengthen the democratic institutions.
“He (Gilani) apprised the US delegation that the brave and resilient nation of Pakistan stood united to meet these challenges and the parliament is expected to pass a resolution to exhibit unity against any move to derail democracy,” the statement added. He informed the US delegation about the colossal devastation caused by floods and said that his government was in the process of setting up an oversight council to ensure complete transparency in utilisation of flood assistance.
He said that the meeting of the Council of Common Interest is scheduled to be held in the beginning of the next week to devise a national plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The prime minister said that the government, despite severe economic challenges, would continue its economic reform programme, broaden the tax base, accelerate the process of privatisation and take required decisions to provide strength to the economy.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2010.