ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Sunday while calling for mutual respect amongst state institutions said there was no chance of any clash as the government strongly believes in a policy of reconciliation and would continue to tread on this path.Addressing the nation on television and radio, Gilani said “the policy of reconciliation will bring political powers and state institutions closer; with public welfare being the focal point.”The Prime Minister said he has ordered inquiry into the news report that caused all the furore so that the nation may know who tried a midnight-assault on relations between the judiciary and the government.He said he denied the news report soon thereafter. The President too termed it a false news.“But even then if it is not accepted, then I may remind that we are violating the principles of mutual respect, which is the soul of Constitution of Pakistan and is Parliamentary in nature,” Gilani said.Gilani said being the Leader of the House he had announced restoration of the judges. “If he announces restoration of the judges, it is accepted. Similarly if he denies a news, then keeping in view the stature of the position, it too should be accepted on all forums.”“If a false news is given preference over the words of the Prime Minister, then it would be an insult to the stature of the Prime Minister,” he remarked.The Prime Minister made the speech in the presence of Chief Ministers of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan, Senior Ministers of Punjab and Sindh and Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir.
Gilani reminded that when he decided to restore judges through an executive order he was told that he could not do it and it would be a violation of the Constitution and the action could come under Article 6.“But I did not listen to those voices. I did not give any importance to any danger and announced restoration of judges,” he said adding “I was also told that validation of parliament was necessary for the executive order. I referred to this in one of my speeches that people were saying this to me but I stood by my decision to restore judges. But this speech of mine was given different meanings. I made it clear at that time that I had not given my opinion but only explained the background in which I took that decision.”
The Prime Minister said, “if the mediamen stand witness that behind the news of change in government, various social crimes and gambling are taking place then we have to think where we are heading.”“If in the guise of news the earnings of common man in stock exchange and businesses are sunk then the nation should think who are its friends and enemies,” he added.The Prime Minister reminded the nation that they were living in a parliamentary democratic system, which stood on the principle of division (of power) and mutual respect.“This (democracy) teaches us respect for every state institution including judiciary, legislature, executive and media”, he said.The Prime Minister said this system also provides respect for the armed forces and law enforcing institutions, whose Jawans sacrifice their lives for country’s defence; for executive, which maintains the country’s administrative affairs by working day and night; and for parliament which does legislation and being an elected institution is considered supreme.
“The Prime Minister is said to be the Leader of the House in this system and deserves respect”, he added.“The words of the Prime Minister, be it verbal or written, are respected. If he utters verbally that the house arrest of judges should be ended, then they could not be kept confined. If he (the Prime Minister) announces the restoration of honourable judges, that is accepted”, Gilani said.Similarly, if he denies a news, keeping in view the stature of his position, it should be accepted at all forums, the Prime Minister added.He said judges should come together with the government at a forum to pursue the goal of social, economic and legal justice.“If the government and judiciary take steps together then we can administer justice to poor people of the country. We can counter forces of oppression. We can bring those to justice, who usurp rights of people.”
“If we can work together with the army and create consensus among the political forces then certainly we can go along with the judiciary,” he added.Gilani said as a public representative he understood the need for justice. He called for improvement in administrative and judicial system.
He vowed to take every step for provision of justice to people and said the government would welcome any suggestions in the cause of justice.Gilani said his message was that the government was in the process of reordering its priorities.“Justice for people, provision of economic opportunities and protection of life and property is our first and last priority.”Expressing his desire to keep focus on issues of governance, Gilani said, “We do not want to waste more of our capabilities and time in this meaningless battle of survival. Our viewpoint on Constitution, state institutions and country’s conditions is clear and categorical. I do not want to waste my and nation’s time by repeating it time and again. We have got united to protect life and property of people, curb price hike and injustice and take action against anti-social elements and this will be our first priority.”
Giving details of steps to promote economic stability, the Premier said under the 18th amendment financial and administrative powers have been given to the provinces and provincial resources have been raised under the NFC award.Now it is responsibility of provinces that a policy should be made so that people can directly benefit from the historical steps, he added.The Prime Minister vowed to wage a war against inflation saying causes of price hike were international, domestic and artificial such as unfair profiteering, hoarding and presence of different mafias.The government will very soon unfold its strategy to meet the challenge of inflation, he informed.
The Prime Minister said the government has decided to restructure eight public sector entities whose performance was not satisfactory.
This step will decrease burden on the national exchequer and the institutions will serve the people better, he said adding the government had tried to increase access for Pakistani products in European markets and as a result of that a number of goods were exempted from duties by the European Union.
Gilani said rehabilitation of the flood affected people is an important priority as the weather is turning cold and before that the government has to arrange food, clothing and shelter for people.He thanked the international community for coming to the aid of Pakistan at a difficult time.He said the government is aware of its responsibility and it has taken a number of steps to support disaster struck people.Watan card scheme was started under which all affected persons would be given a grant of Rs.100,000 each. The first instalment of Rs. 20,000 was being given and for this centre and provinces were providing funds of 50 percent each in a completely transparent process which was acknowledged by all.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the scheme in which the affected farmers in possession of upto 25 acres are getting assistance of Rs. 2400 per acre for agricultural purposes.
Relief will also be given for loans for the crop of Rabi and farmers can get loans on 8 percent mark up, the government will pay 5.5 percent of the mark up on it.
The Prime Minister said Kashmir was part of the national agenda which could not be put aside.“People of Kashmir live in our hearts. We inherited this love from our leader Shaheed Bhutto,” he added.“With our efforts, this happened for the first time that the world has accepted Kashmir as a disputed territory,” he said adding it was a big success that on the dispute, the European Union organised a tripartite dialogue in which Prime Minister Azad Kashmir represented the country. On that international forum, the Indian delegate accepted that people of Occupied Kashmir fell victim to persecution by Indian army.
“This suggestion of ours was also accepted that the UN and OIC should be included to find a solution to this dispute,” Gilani added.The Prime Minister said he was listening to a lot about corruption and accountability and he was not denying presence of the issue.
“But I am aware of this that the level of accountability which a politician in this country faces, others do not.”He said, “the accountability of a politician starts on the day when he takes part in the election process. I know that if I do not pay a one month utility bill the Returning Officer will reject my papers.”
He said the second phase is of public accountability when people cast their vote and third phase is of Public Accounts Committee and Parliament. Besides that politicians undergo accountability in the courts of the country.Gilani said Leader of the Opposition was made head of Public Accounts Committee so that if anybody plays with the constitution and natural resources of the country, he should not escape.“We want to further better this and for this a draft bill is under discussion. If there is any delay in it, it is because like other matters, we are seeking consensus on this issue too,” he added.He clarified that if they made headway on any front in the last two and a half years, it was based on the politics of reconciliation.
He said, “We respected other. We honoured them. What not the people said about us but we tolerated this with patience and we remained silent. Just because Asif Ali Zardari or Yusuf Raza Gilani are not names of a person but they are holding constitutional offices and their office requires that they should ignore their self and give priority to the demands of their office.”
“If somebody makes it a personal battle and in this, ignore the national interest then the government has to think and certainly nation should also think,” he commented.
He resolved to continue the strategy of reconciliation adopted from day one and said process of reconciliation, whose basis was the single point of welfare of people, would increase between political forces and state institutions.
The Prime Minister said the PPP government would go before the people in year 2013.
“No true politician wanted to get disgraced by people and no government wanted that it should go out before time,” he added.Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan has a history of challenges, and today’s biggest one is political stability for which questions are raised and discussions held, adding, but he wanted to revive the hope as despite various difficulties, Pakistan came into being with the blessings of Allah Almighty.
“After independence, Pakistan faced various internal and external threats. Not only dictatorships inflicted wounds on the country, but external forces also spared no effort to hurt it,” he said, adding, but for the country’s defence, security and strength our nation gave a lot of sacrifices.“1965 is a shining chapter of our history”, Gilani said and also mentioned 1973 when Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the nation first consensus Constitution of the country”.
The Prime Minister said the dictators inflicted the Constitution with various wounds through amendments, adding, but the present government with the support of representative forces got the honour of restoring the 1973 Constitution.
He appreciated the contribution and services of all other democratic forces in restoring democracy and the Constitution.
The Prime Minister said the role of Mian Nawaz Sharif, who also faced hard times and struggled for the supremacy of parliament, would be appreciated in the history and he would be counted amongst those who respect the Constitution.
Gilani said it was owing to the present government’s policy of reconciliation that “we struggled for the survival of Constitution and the institutions”.
He said the credit goes to Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, who despite wounded by some personalities in army and judiciary did not let her grief divert from persons to institutions.
“Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, by giving the award of democracy to military leadership, declared that she distinguishes between the person of General Zia ul Haq and the Army and that army is as dear to her as to any Pakistani”, the Prime Minister maintained.
Gilani said, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto by following the path of Quaid-e-Awam, who embraced death but did not let die the dream of a nuclear Pakistan, gave Pakistan the missile technology, which demonstrated her love for the country and its defence.
“The way Shaheed Mohtarma reiterated her resolve during her last public address in Liaquat Bagh, the people of this country cannot forget that”, he added.Similarly, the Prime Minister said the martyrdom of Quaid-e-Awan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is termed by people a judicial murder, but it was Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who, after the imposition of November 3, 2007 emergency, reached the residence of Chief Justice and announced that the flag of Pakistan would again be raised there.“In this struggle she was arrested and for this cause I also have the honour of spending some days in police station and the lock-up”, Gilani said and recalled that despite being in Multan he did not sleep at home and after he came to power the first agenda was the release of judges – App