Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday that he was satisfied with the performance of the Army Chief and General Kayani had not asked for an extension in his tenure.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani in response to a question about the extension of Gen. Kayani and Gen. Pasha said, “You cannot change the Generals in the middle of war,” – a reference to the war on terror.
“That was on my request”, he said, adding they did not seek extension. “Gen. Kayani is pro-democracy,” he further remarked.
“It was foolish to talk about the Army Chief and DG ISI being removed” Gilani said.
The prime minister added that former ambassador Husain Haqqani had resigned before he had asked for his resignation.
To another question, Gilani also rejected the notion of any tension between the government and army and said, “how can we run a government if there is any tension.”
“Today I talked to the Chairman Joint Chiefs of the Staff Committee on certain issue,” Gilani added.
About his recent speech in the National Assembly, the prime minister said addressing the National Assembly and Senate was his prerogative.
To a question, the prime minister said after the attack of NATO forces, meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) was called, political and civil leadership assembled and decisions pertaining to national security were taken.
Nato supply was halted, Shamsi air base was vacated, Bonn conference was boycotted and “we showed solidarity with the 24 brave martyred soldiers and military”, he added.
The prime minister said, at the meeting of DCC, it was decided to refer the matter to Parliamentary Committee on National Security that will prepare recommendations to be put before the joint sitting of the Parliament, so it can decide new terms of engagement with United States, Nato and Isaf.
To another question, he said the memo issue was referred to Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
To another question, he said, judicial commission on Abbottabad incident is looking into the issue of presence of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
The prime minister said performance of their democratically elected government cannot be compared with regime of Gen Musharraf, which had no mandate to rule people of the country through a referendum.
He said at the start of the PPP government, PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar was the Finance Minister and he was on record about the dismal state of the economy inherited from the Musharraf regime.
He said 2012 will be year of Balochistan and during the year, the government will also focus its attention on controlling inflation and the issue of circular debt.
Minister for Finance has been asked to follow a time-line to restructure public sector organizations including PIA, Railways, Pepco and others, Gilani said, adding, the government cannot go on using the option of borrowing and printing money as it will not be good for the economy.
It is right of the opposition to play to the gallery and embarrass the government, he said and added, he had been in the government many times and since 1947 he was constantly hearing the statements that Pakistan was going through very difficult times.
Politics is a day-to-day affair and nobody should worry whether the country or religion is in danger, he remarked.
Gilani said he realizes that people are facing problem of electricity and gas shortages but want to provide relief within available resources as every government will like to get vote on the basis of its performance.
The prime minister said it is customary not to accept the result of elections. The same happened in 1977 elections when results were not accepted and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and opposition parties held talks and all points were agreed but the third force came and a long martial law followed.
PM Gilani to a question said he never stated that the government should complete its tenure rather he always stressed that parliament, which is a nascent institution, should complete its tenure.
The premier said he never insisted to stay in office. “It is not a bed of roses. It is a bed of thorns”, he remarked.
Gilani, however, added that there were constitutional means to change the government. “I am striving that I remain in office or not, but the parliament should complete its tenure as it is a nascent institution,” he added.
The PM said all the political parties including the PTI, who he believed were not in hurry for elections, did not want to uproot the system.
When his attention was drawn to the entry of old politicians in Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Gilani remarked that all former foreign ministers are now part of the “revolution”.
To a question about problems in Balochistan, the PM mentioned to the government’s initiatives like the NFC Award, provincial autonomy, enhanced budgetary allocations, job quotas etc but said, the people in Balochistan want protection of life and property, which is their right.
He assured that the government would continue to focus on the issue of protection of life and property in the province during next year also by taking all the state agencies on board.
To a question about Pak-US relations after Nato attack on Pakistani border post, the Prime Minister said contrary to Gen. Musharraf who offered all out support to the United States only after a telephone call, his government would not compromise on the country’s sovereignty and respect.
He said new terms of engagement with the US would be decided in the light of recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that has been tasked to do in light of the important decisions taken at the DCC following the NATO attack.
To another question, the prime minister said Mian Nawaz Sharif, who also suffered, is equally sincere with democracy and whole the nation is with us on this issue.
He said the PML-N is showing political maturity and always supported the government on major national issues.
In response to a question about Imran Khan’s remarks about President Zardari, Gilani said, President Zardari is a successful politician and it was his vision that made the PPP to form coalition governments at the federal and provincial levels.
“It is not a joke, but political performance”, he remarked.
The PM welcomed the statements of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Altaf Hussain about Seraiki province and said Pakistan People’s Party, which gave rights to Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Fata, would not disappoint the people of Southern Punjab.
About the rallies of PTI, he said, it was his considered opinion that the governments did not need to show political muscles.