DAVOS: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Thursday that there was no need for early elections in the country, and brushed aside any dangers to democracy saying the people and the army fully supported democracy in Pakistan.
Gilani said holding elections was the prerogative of the government and the era of 58-2b had gone. He said the government would hold the Senate elections on time and it would be followed by the presentation of the budget in May. The premier said the government enjoyed good relations with all institutions, including the army, and strongly rejected the notion of any rebellion by the armed forces. “The people, the army and the judiciary are with the government,” said Gilani. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led coalition government, he said, had a two-thirds majority.
Gilani also expressed deep respect for the judiciary and said it was the PPP that had struggled to restore the judges deposed by former president Pervez Musharraf. “It was I who ordered the release of the judges who were under house arrest,” said the premier.He also said when the Supreme Court summoned him, he responded straight away to the summons, as it was his constitutional duty to do so.Gilani also expressed the desire to have cordial and good relations with the United States based on mutual respect and friendship. He said there were ups and downs in Pakistan’s relationship with the US but the both country’s mission was one. He said the issue of resumption of NATO supplies through Pakistan had been entrusted to parliament.
The prime minister also recalled his statement to a foreign media channel that led some to believe that there were differences between the army and the government. He said all institutions were working within the ambit of the constitution and there was no clash.Responding to a question regarding his earlier statement about “a state within a state”, he said the defence secretary was sacked after thorough investigations. He said following his statement, the person who was responsible was removed. “And since he has been removed I have nothing against them (the army and ISI chiefs),” Gilani said.To a question about Mansoor Ijaz’s refusal to visit Pakistan, Gilani said he was summoned by the court and was not in a position to offer any comments on the matter as the issue was sub judice.
To a question about Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Gilani said he did not participate in the general elections and never succeeded even in by-elections, and it seemed to be his party line that they would not contest general elections.Gilani also met Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. They discussed Pakistan-Denmark relations, regional issues including Afghanistan and Pakistan-EU ties. Both leaders agreed to exchange high-level visits more frequently. – PT