PPP will be an effective opposition in Punjab: PM


LAHORE – Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told reporters at his residence here on Sunday that the Pakistan People’s Party would continue its policy of reconciliation for Pakistan’s security and sovereignty and to strengthen the parliament and democratic institutions.
Gilani said that he had been doing consistent politics and amassing power had never been his target. The PM said the PPP would continue to play its role constructively whether it was in the government or in the opposition, because democracy meant not to rule the people but to serve them. “Politics is not a matter of one day but a day-to-day affair, and we will continue to adhere to issue-oriented politics,” he said.
He said that he had accepted the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s agenda with sincerity. If the PPP lost its government in Punjab, he added, it would prefer to sit on opposition benches instead of resorting to horse-trading to gain a majority. “Punjab issue should not be bracketed with vital national policy, which encompasses all issues including those mentioned in the N-League [PML-N] agenda,” he said.
He said that the government was very much focusing on national issues and working to address these for the advancement of Pakistan and welfare of the people. Gilani said that the PPP had been running the government despite the fact that PML-N had parted ways with it in the very beginning. The PPP government, while realizing a sense of collective responsibility, took on board all its coalition partners on matters pertaining to the country’s defence, security, foreign and nuclear policy and all other issues of national importance, he added.
The government, he said, had taken revolutionary steps, which a party with a two-thirds majority could not even have taken. He said that his government, through the 18th amendment, had ensured the balance of power between the president and parliament, lifted the ban on third-time premiership, rid the country of dictatorship through dialogue, resolved the long-pending issue of the NFC and did not make a single amendment or law which was aimed at benefiting an individual.
He said the government wanted to see similar governance in Punjab as well. The PM said the country could not afford mid-term elections in the prevailing circumstances since all provincial governments had already told the Election Commission that they were unable to hold even local government elections in light of the volatile state of law and order.
Gilani said PPP has strong roots in all the four provinces, as well as Kashmir and the Northern Areas and its defeat in a general election would be impossible. He also said that the government did not want to Pak-US relations to become hostage to the Raymond Davis incident, however it had made it clear to the US administration that the Davis case was in court and “we respect our judiciary and will not resort to any move which is against the sovereignty or dignity of Pakistan.”
The PM said that erstwhile foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was very much in the party and would remain in the party because his future was with the PPP. Gilani said the situation in Egypt and Libya could not be compared with Pakistan, where existed a democratic system in which the change of president or prime minister made no difference.
He said Pakistan had cordial relations with Libya, which was a brother Islamic country. Gilani said that the government was distributing the country’s resources in accordance with constitutional provisions and strongly denied the notion that Punjab was being discriminated against.