Gilani eats his words about Army

GilaniISLAMABAD:  Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday took back his allegation that the statements of army chief and ISI DG given to the Supreme Court in the memogate scandal were ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.

Gilani, who had earlier this month accused the two officers of violating the constitution by bypassing him, appeared to back down from the confrontation with the military by moving away from his remarks, saying the country could not work in an atmosphere of confrontation among the state institutions.“I want to dispel the impression that the military leadership acted unconstitutionally or violated rules,” Gilani told the media at Chaklala airport before leaving for Devos to attend the session of World Economic Forum.

The prime minister said “there were lot of events taking place, and there was overlapping by lot of government functionaries on many issues” therefore, his remarks were in that context. GiIani said, “Later when we found out some of the discrepancies made by certain functionaries, I have taken action against them.” The PM said the remarks were made in a situation when things were unclear. “But since there is clarity and now we have all met and that does not pertain to these two gentlemen.” “There was a clash of institutions at that time, but now there isn’t… Country cannot work in an atmosphere of confrontation among the institutions. Therefore for the national interest we have to be seen on the same page.”

Referring to his meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI DG Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha here at Prime Minister House Tuesday evening, the prime minister said the comprehensive meeting was purely focused on the security situation of the country and Afghanistan.Prime Minister Gilani later left for Davos to attend the annual summit of the World Economic Forum being held from January 25-29. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and other officials while he was seen off at the airport by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Before his departure, he told the media that WEF was a golden opportunity to meet the world leaders and business leaders. He said since 1990 the WEF has been an effective platform. The prime minister said he will also host a reception in the honour of business community who are attending the WEF to explain them about business opportunity in Pakistan so they can come and invest here.“On the sidelines I will meet with many heads of states, including chief of Miscrosoft Bill Gates,” he added. He said all issues will be discussed during these sidelines meetings but mostly discussion will be focused on climate change and intentional affairs. He said he will also attend the reception being hosted by the President of G-20.

Replying to a question, the prime minister said according to the World Bank report, there is recession in world economy but Pakistan’s economy is improving and it is very good sign. He said the WEF is familiar with this situation and certainly he will be briefing them about Pakistan’s economic situation.The PM is scheduled to hold meetings with world leaders who will gather at Davos, the Alpine Resort of Switzerland to deliberate upon the global economic issues. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will open the annual event in which 40 heads of state, 18 of the world’s central bankers besides around 2,600 of the world’s top political and business leaders are expected to participate.

Gilani is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the President of Swiss Confederation, Azerbaijan, Prime Minister of Denmark, the founder of the WEF Professor Klaus Schwab, President of Mexico, Prime Minister of Thailand, UN High Commissioner of Refugees Antonio Guterres, Director General World Health Organisation Margaret Chan.During his five-day stay at Davos, PM Gilani will also participate in interactive session on “Adapting to Climate Risk” and share his experiences about Pakistan’s handling of natural disasters and discuss how to evolve a strategy to prepare for natural calamities. He will also join the world leaders at an informal gathering of the world economic leaders, besides attending the session on Defining the Imperatives for 2012, and a Media Leaders Event.

The theme for this year summit is “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models”. Leaders from Saudi Arabia, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands, billionaires like philanthropist George Soros, senior executives from Facebook, Google and other tech giants, and the leaders of countries including Germany, South Africa, Mexico, and the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.