Invitation to NATO moot ‘unconditional’


As the Foreign Ministry on Thursday confirmed that President Asif Zardari would attend the NATO summit in Chicago, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said NATO’S invitation to the moot was not conditional on opening up of transit route for the alliance’s supplies to Afghanistan. Talking to reporters at the World Telecom and IT Society Day, the prime minister said Pakistan had received an unconditional invitation. “The issue of reopening of NATO supplies through Pakistan was still under negotiations,” he said while answering different questions in this regard.
“Accepting the invitation, President Asif Ali Zardari would visit US to take part in the conference on Afghanistan,” he added. He said the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the federal cabinet had also endorsed this invitation. According to the prime minister, the relevant ministries would stay engaged with their US counterparts for implementation of the Parliament’s recommendations.
“If US authorities are not giving information, why should we do so? We have given direction to concern ministry that is negotiating with US authorities to conclude talks aimed at restoration of NATO supplies,” Gilani said.
Meanwhile, the White House said late on Thursday no meeting was scheduled between President Obama and President Zardari when the latter visits the US for the NATO moot. To a question, the PM said he was misquoted in his statement about someone leaving the country.
“A foreign TV journalist had asked me a question referring to impressions of Pakistan being a failed state. That I had answered in so many words that Pakistan was a successful country and only those who consider it as a failed one should better leave it,” he explained.
Asked when he would step down in the wake of his conviction in the contempt of court case, Gilani said, no competent authority had sought my resignation. “Only those who do not like my face as prime minister ask me to step down,” he added. He said certain political parties were trying to step in the shoes of the judges and were trying to assume the role of implementer of the apex court’s verdict. “The Constitution of Pakistan clearly prescribes the mechanism for the implementation of the apex court verdicts,” he added. “Therefore, Nawaz League has nothing to do with Supreme Court’s decisions, notwithstanding, the party’s thinking that it was their duty to do so.”
To a query on appointment of chief election commission, the prime minister said when he contacted the opposition leader in this regard, he refused to accept me as prime minister now they accepted the committee to finalize the issue and let the committee decide. Gilani said he would follow the constitution and the parliamentary committee headed by Syed Khurshid Shah would now oversee the issue. To another question on Waziristan operation, he said the army and concerned forces would decide when to start the operation.
“We are moving in right direction to establish Seraiki province for betterment of the people but some people want me to be quit before it comes into existence,” Gilani added. Asked why the government had failed to overcome power crisis, the premier joked that he wanted to impress the nation. “No government would ever want to be unpopular in the public, its people who like us and like our policies therefore they vote us into power again and again,” Gilani said.


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