Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that he had pinned hopes on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the responsibility of reviving the Pakistan People’s Party was on his shoulders now.
In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami on his talk show DNA on Channel 24, Gilani said the incumbent PPP chief should rally the youth of the country in order to revive the party.
Paying tribute to PPP Founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on his 88th birth anniversary, Gilani recalled that Bhutto had restored the 1973 constitution after countering extremism and dictatorship. He further said that the question that whether or not ZAB’s execution was a ‘judicial murder’ should be decided by the courts as well as the murderers of slain Benazir Bhutto identified and penalised.
To a question, Gilani said there was no political vicitmisation during his tenure as the country’s prime minister, recalling that he had taken the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz along since it had the mandate of the people of Pakistan.
About the charges of corruption on his party, Gilani said the PPP was now facing the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other institutions and the decision that whether or not his party was corrupt had to be made by the courts. He also recalled that his government had made the federation strong by granting autonomy to the provinces through passage of the 18th amendment.
About Pakistan’s position over the ongoing Iran-Saudi Arabia standoff, the former premier opined that an all-party conference must be convened to decide what was better for the country and the whole world. The military establishment should also be part of this APC, he added.
About the militant attack on India’s Pathankot air base, Gilani said terrorism and extremism were condemnable in all their hues. He however held the view that India should be cautious and should not jump on a conclusion without proper investigations. He said that the two countries must not indulge in a blame-game, adding that Pakistan was worst hit by this scourge with thousands of casualties of civilians, soldiers and paramilitary officials.
The former premier however sounded critical of the hostile Indian media which accuses Pakistan of sponsoring the Pathankot attack. He said that the dialogue process must go on, adding that war was not an option.
To a question about Zardari’s recent statement in which he called for an end to the misuse of religion-based laws against minorities and vulnerable sections of society, Gilani replied that he could not interpret the PPP co-chairman’s statement since he was not his spokesperson. Besides, he added, he did not have a meeting with Zardari for a long time.
About the launch of former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry’s political party, Gilani said he wished him best of luck in politics.
To a question about democracy’s future in Pakistan, Gilani said the country’s supreme institution parliament needed to be strengthened and other institutions should work within their constitutional ambits.