CJ should hear my son’s case if he can’t hear Arsalan’s: PM Gilani
LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday requested Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to hear the case of his [Gilan’s] son Ali Musa Gilani if he could not hear the case of Arsalan Iftikhar due to constitutional reasons.
The prime minister also firmly asserted that neither the Pakistan Army nor the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had anything to gain from the alleged case of graft charges on Arsalan Iftikhar.
Speaking to reporters at the State Guest House, Prime Minister Gilani ruled out the possibility of martial law in the country, and said that the perception that the PPP or the military had something to gain from the Arsalan Iftikhar case was false. “The PPP respects all institutions, and has no score to settle with the judiciary,” he stressed, adding that Malik Riaz had ties with all political parties, and not just the PPP.
Rejecting the idea of local government (LG) elections on a non-party basis, the premier maintained that the polls should be party-based and held as soon as possible under the directions of the apex court. He further said elections on a non-party basis had proved helpful in allowing dictators form parties of their own choice in the past.
The premier urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to avoid returning to the era of 1990s politics. He also said that as a democratic party, the PPP had never accepted any king’s party, and would therefore not endorse polls on a non-party basis. Once again referring to southern Punjab, Prime Minister Gilani criticised the PML-N leadership for having double-standards with regards the issue. He said that the Punjab government had failed to allocate any funds for the creation of southern Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces in the 2012-13 budget, despite having submitted a resolution in support of additional provinces. He further said he had hoped the PML-N would allocate 33percent of its funds for the southern belt of the province.
Holding the PML-N responsible for the prevailing power crisis in the country, Prime Minister Gilani claimed that Shahbaz Sharif had rejected Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s suggested formula for overcoming the energy crisis. He also said the Punjab government had refused to contribute funds, even though major resources had been transferred to the provinces under the NFC award.
The prime minister slammed the Punjab government for failing to initiate projects to generate even a single megawatt of electricity in the province, whereas the Centre had added 3,700MW to the system. He said it was strange that Shahbaz Sharif was leading the protests against loadshedding whereas his government had failed to do anything to improve the power situation in the province. “For four years [the Punjab government] didn’t allocate any amount for the generation of electricity, which would take at least five years from the date if any power project was launched now,” held the prime minister in response to a question regarding the allocation of Rs8 billion for power generation. Continuing the Shahbaz-bashing, Prime Minister Gilani said he felt sorry for the chief minister, and asserted that the PPP had not closed the doors on its policy of reconciliation. He regretted that the PML-N had intensified its anti-PPP movement following the emergence of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the political landscape.
Regarding gas shortages in the country, the prime minister said the government was signing new gas projects with Iran, Qatar and India to meet its energy needs.
Agencies add: Prime Minister Gilani Sunday said that one of his sons had been dragged into a Haj scandal, while his other son was implicated for simply making a telephone call. “We are not afraid of these allegations. The chief justice should hear [my son’s] case; I have complete confidence in him,” he held.
He added, “If any constitutional obligation is stopping the chief justice from hearing his son’s case, then I request him to hear my son’s case. I volunteer my son to appear before the Supreme Court. I have been facing the media’s [questions] in this regard for more than four years, while [Arsalan’s] case is only four days old.”
Regarding investigations by agencies into the Arsalan Chaudhry case, however, the prime minister said no concrete proof had surfaced so far, nor had any complainant come forward, and thus it was premature to say anything.
The prime minister said Nawaz Sharif was a party in almost all the cases against the government except Arsalan’s suo moto case. He also criticised the PML-N leadership’s decision to discontinue the power projects initiated by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi, saying, “If those projects [had been] continued, Punjab would have been producing its own electricity by now.”
Regarding the rumpus created by the PML-N in the NA budget session, the prime minister condemned the “horse and cattle show” of the PML-N as unbecoming of political leaders, adding that people looked to their leaders to set an example. He also criticised the Opposition for squandering an opportunity to take part in a constructive dialogue during the budget session.
Prime Minister Gilani Sunday said that three provinces in the country had decided to hold LG polls on a party basis, and that the “preachers of democracy” [therein referring to the PML-N] should also follow suit.
He also expressed his hope that the PPP-led coalition government would be able to create the southern Punjab province through political consensus.Referring to the Thar Coal project, Prime Minister Gilani said the venture was an initiative of the Sindh government, and that other governments needed to generate their own power resources in order to meet energy challenges.
Rejecting the allegations of the Punjab government regarding the non-provision of sovereign warranties by the federation for power projects, the premier said the PML-N could ask for an inquiry into the allegations or seek help from the judiciary.
The prime minister added that elections would be held on time and in consultation with the coalition partners.When asked about his government’s achievements going into the next election, Prime Minister Gilani said the PPP-led government had purged the 1973 Constitution of the scars left by successive dictators, and had restored it to its true spirit, therein strengthening the state’s institutions. He said the government had given a share in the national resources to the provinces through the passage of the NFC award, had awarded provincial autonomy to the provinces; introduced reforms in Fata, initiated legislation on women empowerment and labour, made possible the passage of the 18th, 19th and the 20th amendments, and had launched the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for more than 3,500,000 families.
“We made amendments in the FCR for the first time in 111 years,” said the premier. “We included Kala Dhaka into the settled area,” he said, adding that this was an achievement that even “the British could not claim.”
Prime Minister Gilani said talks were underway with Iran for the construction of a 1,000MW power project. He also revealed that the PPP-led government was working on solar and hydel power projects, and that two nuclear power plants had been made functional while two others were currently in the pipeline.
Regarding US President Obama’s decision to increase drone attacks, the prime minister reassured reporters that the US president was in an election year, and that the decision taken by him had been aimed at gaining political mileage.
On the subject of Nato supplies, Prime Minister Gilani said a dialogue was still ensuing with Washington in light of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS). He added that all stakeholders would be taken on board and national interests safeguarded if Nato supply lines were reopened, as had been done at the time of the closure of the routes.
In response to a question on dual nationality, Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistani expatriates had contributed an estimated $12 billion to foreign remittances during the past year, and that the people of 16 Commonwealth countries had been granted the right to hold dual nationality and vote by virtue of which a Pakistani was also the chairperson of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom. “Imported prime ministers with dual nationality have been accepted in the past, and any law pertaining to dual nationality should have been implemented at the outset,” he asserted.
Prime Minister Gilani said Pakistan desired to resolve all outstanding issues with India through dialogue, and expressed his hope with regard to the outcome of defence secretary-level talks between the two countries on the Siachen issue.
The prime minister also welcomed the Supreme Court decision with regards the submission of expenses accounts by contesting candidates as well as the checking of voter lists by the Army and the FC.
Regarding the appointment of a Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Prime Minister Gilani said the matter had been delayed due to the stubbornness of the PML-N, as the CEC was to be a consensus candidate of the leader of the House as well as the leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the Council of National Affairs (CNA) called on Prime Minister Gilani at the State Guest House Sunday. The prime minister discussed the national, political and economic situation with senior editors, journalists, columnists, anchorpersons and analysts during a meeting which lasted for over an hour.