LAHORE – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said it would be considered a rebellion (and treated accordingly), if the Punjab government staged a long march against the federal government.
PML-Q leader Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and Fawad Chaudhry from the PPP were also present on the occasion. The prime minister wondered which party would lead the march as all parties having representation in the assemblies were part of the government in one way or the other. “Who will lead the long march, as all the political parties are in the government. Anyone who desires to launch a march should leave the government first to prove credentials of a real opposition and then go for the long march.
Commenting on the issue of loadshedding, he said the government had constituted an Emergency Cell and Special Cabinet Committee (SCC) to deal with the energy crisis. He added that the SCC would hold its meetings daily, while the minister for Information and broadcasting was to apprise the public of the shortfall on a daily basis.
Inciting public for violent demonstrations would not help anybody to get some political mileage by playing politics over the issue of loadshedding, he remarked.
The prime minister said the SCC would comprise ministers for finance, water and power, Petroleum and information besides the Planning Commission deputy chairman and State Bank governor.
Talking about the possibilities of reopening of the Nato supplies, Gilani said no decision had been taken so far to reopen the routes and claimed that President Asif Zardari was invited for Chicago Conference without any condition.
On the issue of qualification as prime minister after the Supreme Court verdict, he said he was not disqualified and anybody, who wanted to send him home, should bring vote of no confidence against him. Similarly, the quarters desiring to bring a new president should impeach the sitting President Asif Zardari, he added.
Gilani said he enjoyed the support of all his coalition partners and he would remain in the office till he did not lose their confidence.
Commenting over the corruption allegations against his son, the prime minister replied, “My son was accused because he is practicing politics, however he will face the courts.”
Regarding Shujaat Hussain’s formula on energy, he said he fully agreed to the proposals put forth by the PML-Q president, adding that the energy crisis was not a single party’s issue rather it was the responsibility of the whole country to overcome challenge.
The prime minister said the provincial governments should inform the masses about their efforts to deal with energy crisis instead of fixing the entire responsibility on the federal government, as the 18th Amendment had given them free hand to introduce province-oriented energy sources.
Gilani, while claiming that the government was fully aware of its responsibility to fulfil energy needs of the country, said 3,600 MW of electricity had been added to the national grid with another 2,500 MW projects in the pipeline, while ventures like the Thar Coal, Mangla Raising and Diamer Bhasha dam would also be completed soon.
“Energy crisis is a challenge and the government accepts the challenge,” he claimed.
Spelling out his government’s priorities in the upcoming budget, the prime minister said self-sufficiency in energy sector, employment opportunities, a tax-free budget, relief to the agriculture sector as well as BISP support to urban population would be ensured at all costs, adding that 100,000 new jobs would be created for the youth.
Shujaat Hussain said, “The court has neither disqualified the prime minister nor stopped him from working.”
He added a certain political party, which wanted to send the sitting government home, should not forget that it instead of respecting the sanctity of the superior courts attacked the same in reaction to a decision against its government.
Replying to a question regarding parting ways with the government if the energy crisis was not handled in 14 days, Shujaat backtracked from earlier stance and claimed that he had never threatened to do so.
Bring impeachment, no-trust motions