LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Sunday said the government is “going nowhere” and will remain in power irrespective of any party’s departure. He said this while speaking to journalists in Lahore.
Declining to comment on coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) decision to sit on the opposition benches, the Prime Minister Gilani said he had just learnt of the development from the media, adding that all political parties are united when it comes to national issues and he does not see any political crisis in the country.
The premier said Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif is in the favour of the democratic system and expressed confidence that he will not derail it. While “we are different parties [with] different programmes [and] different manifestoes,” the government is on good terms with the PML-N and Nawaz has demonstrated political wisdom and maturity when it comes to national issues, such as the 18th and 19th Amendments and the National Finance Commission award, said Gilani.
Citing the cooperative spirit, the premier said that 57 bills have been passed unanimously by the parliament under the present government.
Commenting on the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazalur Rehman’s statement calling for his removal, Gilani said the government doesn’t mind such statements since they have worked well together in the past three years. “We respect his views but it is up to the parliament to take the decision,” he said. The premier said he had received some of the resignations of JUI-F parliamentarians but will comment on the issue once he has received all of them.
The premier said he is not in favour of horse trading or making forward blocks, adding he expects the cooperation of all since he is a unanimously elected prime minister.
Gilani said he’d spoken to President Zardari, who is currently in Karachi, via telephone to discuss some issues and the President informed him he would stay in Karachi until some pressing issues are resolved.
Calling himself a descendant of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), Gilani said he could not even think of amending the blasphemy laws. He said no party decision has been made over amending the blasphemy laws, adding it will be impossible to make amendments as long as his government stays in power. The premier termed fellow PPP parliamentarian Sherry Rehman’s proposals for amendment ‘an individual act,’ adding it has neither been discussed at the party level nor in the parliament.
Fuel price hike
About the petroleum price hike, Gilani said the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) maintains the fuel prices in line with the price fluctuation at the international level.” If Ogra does not maintain the local prices in line with the international one, the government will have to provide a subsidy, which, it cannot simply afford to,” said the PM.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2011.
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