Consultation process for new federal cabinet underway: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said Monday the new federal cabinet would be formed in line with the 18th Constitutional Amendment, for which consultation process was underway. “We have given a mechanism for the new cabinet. But still I have to consult the party, coalition partners as well as the opposition”, he responded to a query in an interview with a private television channel (ARY NEWS) aired on Monday night.He, however, maintained that changes in the cabinet would be according to the Constitution, as after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, over 18 ministries were devolved to provinces.To a question, the Prime Minister remarked that the proposed changes in the federal cabinet would give a loud and clear message to the country’s masses that “we mean business.”Gilani did not agree with the view that reconciliatory politics was the weakness of PPP government and rather termed it an achievement, which he said greatly helped in achieving various milestones including the restoration of the 1973 Constitution through consensus.He also mentioned the passage of 18th and 19th Constitutional Amendments, 7th NFC Award, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-Balochistan package, Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy etc. as the major achievements of his government as well as the fruits of the policy of reconciliation.
To a question, Gilani said being an old admirer of Churchill he believed in sustained forward movement and his actions during the last three years have given a direction for change.When asked if it was true that his authority as chief executive is encroached by some institutions, the Prime Minister remarked, “to some extent”. He, however, emphatically added that with an active media and so as the parliament, the judiciary and other institutions, the country was going through an evolution process and the situation would improve with the passage of time.To another question, Prime Minister Gilani said the PPP government respects the independent judiciary and does not view it as an opposition, adding, independence of judiciary was not only part of PPP’s manifesto, but it was also mentioned in the Charter of Democracy signed between the PPP and PML-N leaders.He also did not agree with the view that PML-N was a friendly opposition and said they were playing the role of an opposition, but as the opposition is considered to be a government in waiting, they are engaged in dialogue with the PPP to get the country out of economic problems for the betterment of masses.

To a question, the Prime Minister said law and order situation which also includes terrorism and extremism and the economy were two major challenges facing the country and the PPP government since it came into power three years back was taking every step to tackle these issues.About Pak-US relations, he said despite forward movement through dialogue on strategic partnership, there was trust deficit at people to people level, which needs to be improved through increased people to people contacts.On the issue of Raymond Davis, the Prime Minister said, “since the matter is subjudice and is before the court, we should not speculate on it. Let the court decide.”About Pak-Afghan relations, Gilani said, a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was not only in the interest of Pakistan but also vital for peace and stability of the region.About corruption charges on his government, the prime minister said, such charges were always levelled against the democratically elected governments and they were removed on these charges by the successive dictators. When these dictators came to power they promised to eradicate corruption but they failed, he added.He said the Government was expediting the Accountability Bill to make the public representatives accountable.To a question, the prime minister said that his family had been in politics since 1920 and it was the trust of the people that they had been elected since long.

About U turn on his decisions, he said, if only two or four of his decisions, out of over 150,000 become controversial such kind of percentage could even be seen in the judge’s decisions.About the Haj scandal, the prime minister said, Rao Shakil was a BS-20 officer and he held important posts before his new assignment.  Had he not been appointed there he would have been Joint Secretary in any ministry, the prime minister said.Rao Shakil does not belong to Multan so it is wrong to say that all roads lead to Multan, he said and added, the matter is subjudice and let the court decide, he added.About the Parliament Cooperative Housing Society’s scandal, the prime minister said that a committee had been constituted to probe the matter, adding, 12 people were involved in it out of which only two people belonged to Multan.The Prime Minister said that his politics has always remained development oriented. Urbanization is the biggest problem and his main focus is on development of rural areas so that urbanization could be curtailed, he said.

Prime Minister Gilani said that this was for the first time that there was hardly any difference between the Government and Opposition. There is no discrimination in distribution of development funds between the Parliamentarians of the treasury and opposition benches, the prime minister added.To another question how the people would remember him as a Prime Minister, he said, he gave more time to the Parliament and strengthened it, he is more accessible to the people and as a Prime Minister he did not victimize any body.The Prime Minister said that they had started the politics of reconciliation and took very difficult decisions, adding, had this not been the politics of reconciliation it would have been very difficult to take these decisions.  About his biggest sacrifice, he said, he was not giving proper time to his family as he was a public property.The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the economic situation of the country would turn around, adding the government was striving hard to put the country on the road to progress to relieve the people from price-hike, unemployment and lawlessness.“It is the biggest dream of my life to sit in the Opposition in rest of my life,” the prime minister said – APP