Changes in Cabinet to be made as per 18th Amendment: PM

LAHORE:Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that a principled decision had been taken to make changes in the Federal Cabinet and announcement in this regard would be made soon.Talking to an eight-member delegation of journalists, which called on him here, he said the government had not yet taken the decision of Cabinet’s downsizing. However, the ministers strength would be ensured in accordance with the 18th Amendment.The Prime Minister said that the war against terrorism was in the best interest of the country and all the political parties, civil society and armed forces were united in this regard.He said that the armed forces and the people of the country were rendering sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and extremism.Pakistan has taken decisions regarding war on terrorism on its own, he responded to a question and asserted that Pakistan has made the international community realise that drone attacks are against Pakistan’s sovereignty and the drone technology should be provided to it.Gilani said that Pakistan wanted to resolve all the issues and disputes, including Kashmir with India through dialogue. He said that his Indian counterpart also had positive approach in this regard.He said that a stable Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and “we want peace and prosperity there.” Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and acts carefully on all matters of national and international importance, he added.To a query, the Prime Minister said that democracy in Pakistan was revived following sacrifices of leaders and workers of political parties. He cited benefits of democracy, such as NFC Award, autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan, freedom of judiciary and media and the 18th Amendment, which had been passed on to the common man.The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is the largest political party of the country and a symbol of federation, he said and added that the PPP, for the first time in the country’s history, has introduced tolerance and reconciliation in politics.

He said that an equal distribution of development funds among the parliamentarians was being ensured and the present government was following the vision of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed and taking along all the political parties on important issues.After successful launching of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for poverty alleviation, Gilani said, the government is going to ensure life and health insurance and subsidised utility bills for the poor. The poor youth are also being made a skilled workforce through National Vocational and Technical Education Council (NAVTEC) to help them earn livelihood.The government has diversified the agriculture sector, which has helped improve food security, he said, asserting that despite the devastating floods in the country, Pakistan was able to export agri products, including wheat.To a question, he said, the government was not considering to amend the Blasphemy Act. However, effective measures were needed to check its misuse.Regarding power crises in the country, he said the government had so far added 1400 MW electricity to the national grid, while the power generation would be further increased by the end of this year.The Prime Minister stressed upon the delegation to play its effective role in improving Pakistan’s image at international level – APP