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Pakistani PM: Protect Supremacy Of Parliament

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Posted by on Friday, May 14, 2010, 11:58
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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in the National Assembly on Thursday that legislators should jointly protect the supremacy of parliament regardless of their political affiliations because the institution was being maligned on the issue of fake degrees.

He said he held the media in high esteem, but because of possible lack of information it had alleged that 80 per cent of parliamentarians possessed fake degrees.

The prime minister defended his recent visit to Muzaffargarh to address an election rally for PPP candidate Jamshed Dasti who resigned from the National Assembly after his degree was challenged in the Supreme Court. He also defended the announcement of development projects in the area.

The prime minister said he wielded the authority given by parliament which alone, and none else, could enhance or reduce it. “Being a member of this house I belong to you and you would not like me to become weak.”

Pakistani PM

Prime Minister Gilani said said he held the media in high esteem, but because of possible lack of information it had alleged that 80 per cent of parliamentarians possessed fake degrees. –Photo by APP

Mr Gilani said he respected the judiciary and would implement its decisions. “PPP is not the only party which is being maligned in this campaign. Except for the MQM, all other parties, including the PML-N and PML-Q, are being criticised for the same reason,” he added.

Graduation, he said, was not a qualification for contesting polls in any civilised or democratic country. It was introduced by Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf only to keep some of his sworn opponents like Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan out of assemblies.

The prime minister said that a large number of cases had been registered against holders of fake degrees after the 2002 election, but they were still pending in courts.

He said that in future political parties should not give tickets to people who were holding fake degrees. “The parliamentary board has decided not to award party ticket to any Nawabzada, Makhdoomzada or Syedzada; it decided to field a party worker.”

Mr Gilani said he had good relations with the opposition, especially with the PML-N whose candidate was contesting against his brother in a by-election. He welcomed it as part of the democratic process.

“My job is to meet people. My job is to meet tenants and farmers and if I fail to do my duty, who else would do it for me,” he asked.

Mr Gilani said it was true that the 18th Amendment had empowered the prime minister and it was up to parliamentarians to decide whether to maintain these powers or withdraw them. “I am answerable to parliament.”

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