ISLAMABAD - Telling the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that no political entity in the country would take it serious if it continued with its mantra of en masse resignations, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that the government was ready to go the extra mile to resolve the people’s issues if the opposition raised them in the House according to the prescribed procedure.
In reply to the charge sheet presented by National Assembly Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan against the government in the House, Gilani said the government was more than serious in resolving the public issues, which was a fact that the people realised and therefore voted in the government’s favour in the by-elections. The premier assured the opposition once it did point out the issues, the government would come up with a solution. He invited the opposition to give proposals for rehabilitation of Pakistan Steel Mills and other public entities such as the Pakistan International Airlines.
The prime minister said further that PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and the leader of another political party, whom he labelled “presentation of the establishment”, also gave a positive statement on the government’s decision to grant India the status of Most Favoured Nation. Before going into a formal agreement in this regard, the House would be taken into confidence, he added. He said it did not matter if the prime minister was taken down, but parliament and democracy must remain intact.
He said the Law Ministry had been directed to speed up formulation of legislation pertaining to tenure of office and perks and privileges of the members of the Election Commission.
On the issue of a secret memo allegedly sent by President Asif Ali Zardari to the US administration, the prime minister said both the Presidency and the Foreign Office had issued denials. He also cast doubts over the credibility of the source of the news item.
He also said allegations of corruption in import of fertilisers would be probed. On the concern of the opposition leader regarding breach of sovereignty by drone attacks, the prime minister said: “We cannot fight with them like boys on the street… We are trying to convince them.”
Earlier, Nisar had asked the government to show seriousness in resolving the issues of the people. He objected to the parliamentarians’ attitude, who approached the prime minister whenever he appeared in the House to get their applications signed. He said the parliamentarians needed a lecture on the sanctity of the House. He also criticised the government for the recent increase in electricity tariff, asking if the government was mandated to put an extra burden on the people.
The opposition leader said that despite the lapse of two months, the government had been unable to form a committee to implement the All-Parties Conference (APC) resolution. Referring to the alleged backing of the establishment for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Nisar asked the government to go into the background of what was happening on the political front for the last three days. He said members of the ruling party were landing somewhere else in the name of a revolution.
He warned that the opposition would not let the government run the House with that level of non-seriousness, adding that anti-government movements would gain further momentum after the holy month of Muharram. However, he added that his party would not let any undemocratic force take advantage of the situation. He urged the government to fulfil the commitments it had made to the nation and also asked the government to allow both Zulfiqar Mirza and Altaf Hussain in the House so they may learn the reality of their concerns regarding national security.
On a point of order, Awami National Party legislator Bushra Gohar asked the government to legislate so as to make it mandatory for the heads of the armed forces, corps commanders and other high-level government officials to declare their assets. National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza told the House that her office had received nomination from the parties for the formation of a parliamentary committee on the APC.