Criticism of government: Gilani wants opposition, media to follow ethics
By Ahmad Hassan
ISLAMABAD: In his first radio address to the nation, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday that the opposition and media should not let go ethical norms while criticising the government.
He said the government welcomed positive criticism by the opposition and media to improve its performance, but truth must not be distorted and while criticising the government ethics must be followed.
He urged political parties and experts to use their energies for the country’s interest and present suggestions and recommendations for solving problems.
Mr Gilani said the government had replaced political confrontation with reconciliation and harmony. He said all institutions are working within the ambit of the Constitution.
“I have decided to address you (people) directly at 7pm on the first Friday of every month to maintain close and continuous liaison with you. Today’s address is a beginning of that initiative,” he said.
Without mincing words, Mr Gilani said: “We will go back to the masses for our accountability after completing the mandate they have given to us as we believe their accountability and verdict is always final.”
The prime minister said the nation would soon hear good news about restoration of the 1973 Constitution in its original shape. All distortions effected in the Constitution by dictatorial regimes would be removed.
Mr Gilani said that priorities of his government were to combat terrorism, reduce poverty, bring down prices and maintain law and order to attract foreign investment.
“During these two years (of the government) we have not only made progress in fulfilling promises enunciated in our manifesto, but also made relentless endeavours to surmount the inherited problems,” he maintained. “We are also conscious of the fact that PPP has always been given the mantle of the government when the country faced difficult circumstances, and viewed from this perspective, governing the country is a test and an opportunity for us to serve the masses, instead of wielding power.”
The back of the terrorists had been broken, Mr Gilani said, adding that personnel of the army and law-enforcement agencies had rendered great sacrifices and laid down their lives to eliminate elements bringing a bad name to the country.
“Time is not far away when we will be able to clear our land of terrorists who have inflicted tremendous harm on our economy. The law and order situation has discouraged investment in the country.”
Mr Gilani said that agricultural production had increased and the country had sufficient stocks of wheat to meet the domestic requirement.
He said the government was trying to resolve the issue of water and power shortages on a long-term basis rather than going for a short-term solution.
The prime minister said: “We have restored the deposed judiciary and displayed respect for the decision of the Supreme Court relating to appointment of judges.”
People should not expect that the government was capable of giving employments to all jobless, but it was trying to provide opportunities to the youth to economically stand on their feet, the prime minister said.
He said that under Benazir Income Support and Wasila-i-Haq programmes, Rs70 billion was being distributed among the deserving families. “Under the Benazir Employment Stock Option Scheme, shares worth Rs100 billion have been distributed among half a million workers of 80 government-controlled industrial units. The Prime Minister’s Internship Programme is benefiting 43,000 educated youths.”
He highlighted various steps taken for uplift of the masses, including autonomy given to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, introduction of Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan package, payment of first instalment of net hydel profit to the NWFP and setting up of separate funds for rehabilitation of terrorism-affected people.
“We are striving to make Pakistan a truly Islamic, democratic and a welfare state in line with the vision of Allama Iqbal, Quaid-i-Azam, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,” Mr Gilani said.