LAHORE – Challenging rival political parties to try if they could to topple the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Saturday said the government had been hearing since 2008 that it would be removed and welcomed those trying to achieve this as it was “primed for that”. Talking to reporters following the formal inauguration of commercial operations of Pakistan’s second communication satellite Paksat-1R in Lahore, the PM said all “parties were desirous of opposition though they were in the government”.
Urging rivals not to say anything that may offend anyone, he said “no force can topple the government”. The PM said South Punjab would become a new province because that was the wish of the people and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would move a resolution in the Punjab Assembly for the creation of the same. The second objective behind the PPP’s decision of supporting the demand for a separate province in southern Punjab was that Punjab was too big to be controlled by one CM. He said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had also supported the creation of a new province in his speech in Dera Ghazi Khan. To a question, he said when the resolution for a new province would be moved, it would become clear whether the PML-N government actually supported the demand or not. He said a separate province was a longstanding demand of the people of southern Punjab and it would be created with the backing of the people.Asked about the planned name of the southern Punjab province, he said names do not matter, as “a rose would remain a rose no matter what it is called”. To a query on corruption charges levelled by the opposition, Gilani said all governments were accused of corruption, but only the federal government was being targeted. “If anyone has proof, he should take it to a court,” Gilani said.
To another question about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s demand of asset declaration, he said PPP leaders had already declared their assets. Asked about the present status of Pak-US relations and the US policy on drone attacks, he said diplomatic channels were being utilised to normalise the ties and that drone attacks were not being conducted with the government’s will. The prime minister said MFN status to India was taken in a wrong stride, adding that the government wanted trade with India just as with any other nation.