Job creation, power generation a budget priority: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that job creation, food security and meeting energy shortages would be priorities in the next federal budget.
Addressing a press conference at Prime Minister’s House, he said more incentives would be given to farmers to increase production for the sake of food security.
The cabinet would discuss the priorities of the budget at its next meeting, he said.
Mr Gilani said the government had brought inflation under control, although it was an international phenomenon. He said the provinces were responsible for controlling prices and curbing profiteering.
He said the government was sharing the burden of the provinces by importing fertiliser worth billions of rupees and providing them to farmers at subsidised rates.
The Benazir Income Support Programme would continue along with other schemes to provide relief to people, he said.
The prime minister said PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had suggested that the federal and provincial governments should pool their resources to resolve the issue of circular debt in the energy sector.
Replying to a question, he said Pakistan saw the United States as a partner and relations between the two countries should be based on mutual interest and respect.
He said he had told US President Barack Obama that the two countries could not take their ties forward without the support of their people.
President Obama had responded by saying that his country respected the sovereignty of Pakistan and would also respect the resolution of parliament but security needs of the United States should also be taken care of, he said.
The prime minister said foreigners should not use Pakistani soil for spreading terrorism. The whole world was concerned about the issue and it was embarrassing when incidents of terrorism took place, he said.
About the presence in the country of the late Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, he said it was an intelligence failure of the world.
The ISI and CIA were working together and many high-value targets had been nabbed, he said.
The prime minister said there was no confrontation with the Supreme Court but appointment of officers, including the attorney general, was the government’s prerogative.
He said if PTI chief Imran Khan had any formula to eradicate corruption within days the government would be ready to implement it.
He said he had been briefed by the foreign minister and interior minister on the situation in Afghanistan and law and order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after recent incidents.
The prime minister said political reconciliation was the only way to achieve stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan would act as a facilitator to help create suitable conditions for peace.
He said drone attacks were counter-productive and the unanimous adoption of a resolution by parliament would strengthen the government’s position when it engaged with the international community. The prime minister said PPP’s manifesto committee would decide the contours of the new Seraiki province.
He said the PPP had given voice to the aspirations of the people of the Seraiki region.
He said a consensus among the parties would be evolved for constitutional amendments needed for the matter.
He welcomed a statement of MQM chief Altaf Hussain in support of Seraiki province.
He also welcomed a statement of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and said the issue of creation of new provinces was part of the manifestos of several political parties. He said ANP chief Asfandyar Wali had told him that Seraiki province was a part of their manifesto. Even sections in the PML-N are in favour of Seraiki province.
He said the PPP had withdrawn some of its members from the cabinet earlier to make space for federal ministers from the PML-Q after it joined the coalition.
Under the 18th Amendment, there would be a limit on the size of the cabinet after next elections, he said.
The prime minister said general elections would be held on time and the issues of local bodies’ polls and voters’ lists are before the courts.
He said and any decision about elections would be taken in consultation with coalition partners.
Prime Minister Gilani said today’s politics was like horror movies and it was not a job for the faint hearted.
The prime minister said he would visit the Gyari region of Siachen where soldiers were buried under an avalanche.
He said the new ISI chief was working fine and his posting was a routine matter.