Cabinet re-sizing in consultation process, says Gilani

LAHORE:Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said the re-sizing of federal cabinet is currently in consultation process.Talking to a nine-member journalists delegation here Sunday, he said the ministers’ performance is not the only criterion to re-size the federal cabinet, as other aspects including constitutional provisions, budgetary constraints as well as coalition partners’ share is also kept very much in view. He also made it clear that relieving of a minister doesn’t mean that his/her performance is not satisfactory.To a question, he said that according to constitution, federal cabinet consists of 11 percent of the parliamentarians with five percent representation from the Senate, adding that they can resolve administrative and other matters in this regard at their own, however, they will move jointly on the legislative matters such as re-constitution of the Election Commission. All the coalition partners, he said, are being consulted and taken into confidence on cabinet issue.To another question, the Prime Minister said that they do not believe in ‘deadline’ in the politics, saying: “We (the politicians) are friends and not the masters of each others, and our coalition partners can approach us for any matter of national interest.”He added that they had accepted Nawaz Sharif’s 10-point agenda after reviewing it thoroughly, and nobody should doubt on our sincerity to pull the country out of economic crises.  For the first time in Pakistan’s history, he said, all the politician, while setting aside their party affiliation and patty differences, are united on all the matters of national importance including political stability, supremacy of the constitution and parliament, and strengthening of democracy.About Raymond Davis, the Premier said that its a very sensitive issue, which should be resolved with maturity, adding, since the matter is sub judice so everybody should be careful about it, as Pakistanis are a responsible nation.  While, the foreign countries are approaching Pakistan government in this regard through diplomatic and congressional channels, a proper way to settle down an issue amicably, he said, adding, we have advised them to contact the country’s court as today our courts are working with great freedom.

To a journalist’s query, Gilani said that Pakistan’s economy is now improving and this fact can be well judged from the facts that export ratio is doubled from that of last year; foreign reserves are all time high and now stands at $ 17.5 billion; stock exchange has jumped up from 5500 to 12500 points; the foreign remittances are almost doubled; food security of 75 percent country’s population living in rural areas has been ensured and the growers are getting prices of their agri produces according to international market. There was acute shortage of wheat-flour in the country, when PPP had come into power, but today Pakistan is exporting wheat despite the worst flood calamity that affected 20 million people and millions of acres fertile lands.The Prime Minister, however, stressed the need for enlarging the tax base by discouraging the tendency of tax evading and non-declaring of assets by individuals. The tax evading tendency in Pakistan has concerned the international community, which argues that how they can provide their taxpayers money as assistance to Pakistan, while its own people do not pay the tax, he maintained.
To a query, he said that yes, there are some vested interests and their lobbies working against the promotion of tax culture in Pakistan, and we have been in dialogue with leadership of all the political parties including PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, JUI and of the FATA to find ways and means to effectively end economic crisis.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that successive governments in Pakistan had been in favour of  constructing  Kalabagh Dam (KBD) but none  took sincere steps such as allocation of funds for the purpose.He said former NWFP  Governor Fazal-e-Haq was first to politicise this vital matter by issuing a controversial statement and since then, Pakistan could not   build the dam.Gilani said that he took the Diamir-Bhasha Dam Project to  the Council of Common Interests (CCI) and managed to get its approval in just one day, which prevented  it from being politicised.  He  said that he would soon lay foundation stone of this mega dam.He said that all the controversial projects of national importance including KBD will be decided at the CCI, and if the Council failed to develop consensus  the the matter will be taken up in the joint sitting of the parliament.Regarding the public sector institutions  and the corporations running in loss,  Gilani said that all  parties are on the same page in this regard. The government will restructure such corporations,  change their boards, and appoint competent persons  as their heads, he added.

To a question, the Prime Minister said that “it is my personal opinion that provinces should hold LG polls and it will be better that  these were held on the same day and have a uniform policy on the LG system. However, I will not interfere in local government system, since the matter is a provincial subject,” he said.Asked about corruption charges  against some high officials, Gilani said that he would not comment on this matter because it is pending before the court.He said that government will abide by the verdict of the court.The government was holding consultation with all the coalition partners and parliamentary parties on the Accountability Bill, he said.Gilani said  Pakistan and Turkey have established strategic partnership and both the brotherly countries have agreed to hold joint meeting of their parliaments every year.He said the meeting will be jointly chaired by Prime Ministers of both countries and also  take joint decisions
The two sides will also ensure exchange of visits of their top leadership,besides frequent visits by foreign ministers of one to the other  country.Pakistan is also striving to establish similar partnership with China as well – APP