PPP, PML-Q to work together to overcome challenges: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Friday said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Q) will work together to overcome challenges posed by terrorism, energy shortages and floods. Speaking at a dinner hosted by him in honour of parliamentarians of PML-Q at Prime Minister House here, the Prime Minister said the PML-Q parliamentarians should consider themselves part of the government.Governor Punjab Latif Khosa, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Barrister Masood Kausar, Minister for Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, PML-Q President Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Ch. Pervaiz Elahi and Mushahid Hussain attended the dinner.The Prime Minister said People’s Party respects mandate of other parties and it is in coalition governments and taking along allies in three provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Gilani said the government did not want to destabilize any government and working to strengthen the democratic system.PML-Q attained the second highest number of votes after PPP in the last elections and has roots in the masses, he observed.“We came into power with vote and not through any backdoor,” he said adding PPP won elections in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and bye elections in various parts of the country.He said it goes to the credit of his government that it implemented 80 percent of its manifesto while western leaders told him that they considered it a success when they implement 30 percent of their manifestos.Gilani lauded role of PML-Q in parliament for restoration of constitution and unanimous approval of constitutional amendments.

In the past, laws were made in the country to consolidate personal power, the Prime Minister said adding Quaid-e-Azam and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wanted parliamentary democracy in the country as in it leaders in power were accountable to the people.The Prime Minister said PPP and PML-Q would contest the next elections together. PML-Q has a respectable position in public and its many members have won elections multiple times, he added.He said, “We and you are together. We will sink together. We will swim together. You will have share in the government.”The Prime Minister talked about his life long association with the common man and his party’s commitment to continue the politics of reconciliation.“I rose from the grassroots, starting politics at district council level and then remained Speaker and as Vice President of PPP was number two to Benazir Bhutto,” he said adding, “I spent five years in jail which according to jail manual is equal to 10-year sentence. But I forgave Musharraf.”

Gilani said that PPP was not afraid of jails and it was part of its character to be in opposition.The Prime Minister said the PPP government had passed its fourth budget. The seat of prime minister was not important for him as if it he had to create forward blocs and groupings in other parties for it.  “I am ready to sit in the opposition,” he added.He said the people were politically very aware and they wanted to keep PPP in power as they trusted it.The Prime Minister referred to the issues of low economic growth, terrorism, floods and energy shortages and said the nation should get united to face the challenges.Despite criticism from some quarters that Pakistan will not be able to handle situation arising from floods, he said the nation had shown resilience and courage.He said the government was asking for financial assistance for the sake of people and last time Rs. 7.5 billion were donated for the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief and this time too the people would put their trust in the government.

Gilani said that the government had paid compensation to acquire land for the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam, work was continuing on the Thar coal reserves and talks were ongoing for import of 1000 megawatts of electricity from Iran besides buying of power from the Central Asian states.In the past Kalabagh Dam could not be built even during the rule of dictators like Ayub, Yahya, Ziaul Haq and Musharraf, he recalled.The Prime Minister said now any new mega project would be brought before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to reach decisions with consensus.He said nobody was safe from terrorism and the problem was not confined to Pakistan but it had put the whole world in trouble.
The whole nation has to fight against terrorism, he said and added that while presiding over a cabinet meeting on the situation in Karachi he directed across the board action without any relaxation for any party.

He said that the government had taken action before the Supreme Court took up the case and that it was making efforts to find a way forward on the issue of Karachi.Gilani said the respect of the parliament and the judiciary was because of democracy.He said it was the responsibility of ruling party to ensure good governance and out of about 200,000 executive decisions that he had taken, only a few became controversial.The courts revise and review the decisions at various levels so it is not out of place if some of his decisions as Prime Minister are considered wrong but even these are subjudice, he added.President of PML-Q Ch. Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain also spoke on the occasion and expressed commitment to their coalition with the Pakistan People’s Party. – APP