Gilani challenges opposition to move no-trust vote
AGENCIES LAHORE PRIME Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani challenged the opposition Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz on Friday, daring the Sharifs to bring a vote of noconfidence against him.
“The only way to unseat me democratically is through a vote of no-confidence … the president can only be removed through impeachment. If you have the courage then go ahead and use the available option,” said the prime minister.
The PM was speaking to reporters in Lahore at a joint press conference with Pakistan Muslim league – Quaid (PMLQ) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who is a coalition partner of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
Gilani was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, but received only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes’ detention in the courtroom.
The opposition PML-N has said they do not consider him the prime minister after his conviction by the SC, and threaten to hold a long march if he stays in office. Gilani, however, says that he will remain the prime minister as long as the parliament allows him to.
“I will not resign on somebody’s wishes … I have complete support of the parliament,” said PM Gilani, Pakistan’s longest serving democratically elected prime minister.
“How can they protest against the government when they are in the government themselves? They would have to resign from their seats to protest,” he said.
“As for long marches, they are held against dictators.
There is a democratic government in the country. There are no dictators and there will be no long marches.” When asked a question regarding an appeal against the SC’s decision, Gilani said his legal team would decide about the issue. “I have not committed a crime. I have only followed the constitution’s interpretation given to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, ahead of the Indo-Pak Home Secretary talks, Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik on Friday hoped that dialogue between the two countries on all issues, including Siachen and Sir Creek, will make progress. “The talks are on.
And it is going to take place again. I don’t say there are problems. We are hopeful that talks will progress on all issues,” he told reporters outside Parliament House. He was asked to comment on ‘differences’ between the two countries on Siachen and Sir Creek despite positive indications earlier. Malik was in Parliament House to call on Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj ahead of completion of his tenure in Delhi.
To a poser on police publishing photographs of terrorists, who later turned out to be Pakistani traders and its possible impact on Home Secretary level talks, he said it will have have no impact. “Pakistan is awaiting Home Secretary level talks. These are important talks. I don’t think it will have any impact on the talks,” he said. He also said he had a good experience in India.
“Relations have reached a level that I am leaving as a satisfied High Commissioner from here.As you are aware, the relations have improved between the two countries in every field,” he said.
On cricketing ties between the two nations, he said recently, one of Pakistan’s TTwenty team has been invited for Champions’ League.
“...I hope that once a beginning is made, bilateral series (could begin). The cricket boards are discussing (the issue),” he said. At least fifteen people were killed, including two policemen, in the country’s financial hub Karachi in target killing incidents during last 24 hours.
Karachi has witnessed violence in recent days, but mostly between the majority Urdu-speaking and minority Pashtu-speaking ethnic groups.