Coalition partners meeting on July 23-24: Pakistani PM Gilani


Lahore : Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that a meeting of coalition partners is being convened on July 23 and 24 in Islambad to evolve consensus strategy to deal with a handful elements involved in terrorist activities and creating law and order situation in the country.

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Addressing a press conference after his arrival from Islamabad at airport here on Monday evening, the Premier said , “I am inviting heads of all coalition partners including PPP chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, ANP Chief Asfand Yar Wali and JUI’s leader Maulana Fazalur Rehman to discuss situation prevailing the country especially the issue of terrorism.”

He said country is facing menace of terrorism and suicide bomb blasts and coalition partners would evolve a strategy to deal with it effectively.

Responding to a question about PML-N leaders assertions that they were not taken into confidence regarding operation in Hangu, he said, “It is prerogative of the provincial government as well as district government to call army for its assistance and why should federal government oppose it.”

To a question he said, “Pakistan is an sovereign and independent country, and no country can be allowed to interfere in our internal affairs.”

However, he said, due to incidents of terrorism and extremism, people express concern and media also write about it.

“Most people of the country want peace and stability in the country so that image of the country could be improved as incidents like suicide bombings badly tarnish motherland image aborad.”

The Prime Minister said that providing security to life and property of the people is the top priority of the government and it would be ensured at every cost.

He said provincial government had called in army to control situation in Hangu as it had gone out of control of civil administration adding “federal government would provide full support to provincial government in its efforts to ensure law and order.”

To a question that the major coalition partners have failed to reach consensus on various issues including on judges restoration and impeachment of president, the Premier said, “I not only released judges but also ordered for payment of their salaries. Parliament is supreme institution and any further decision in this regard would be taken by it.”

He said the President has said time and again that he accepts Parliament’s supremacy and the mandate given by people in February 18 election adding ,”It is up to the Parliament to take any decision as regards his impeachment.”

He said PML-N and PPP are two different political parties with their own separate agenda and programmes observing “We have joined hands on bare minimum Agenda.”

He said there is difference of opinion between the two coalition partners on the issue of judges but the same would be sorted out and PML-N would not part ways.

Regarding price-hike, the premier said it is international phenomenon due to sky-rocketing rise in prices of petroleum products and food items and no country can remain unaffected from it.”Protests and riots are being held in different countries across the world against price-spiral.”

However, the premier said government is committed to provide relief to people and meetings of ECC and federal Cabinets are being held here to discuss the issue adding “ I want to assure the nation that we would leave no stone unturned to ensure relief to the poor of the poorest.”

About performance of the government during its first 100 days , Gilani said, he could not give details in this regard off hand.”I will give complete details in my address to the nation.”

He said “As yet we have not completed even cabinet as after the withdrawal of PML-N’s ministers , second and third stage of cabinet expansion was delayed.”

He said the cabinet is being expanded shortly and ministers would hold open kutcheries so that peoples’ grievances are redressed without any delay.

Earlier, on arrival, the premier was received by Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, Senior Punjab Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed, provincial ministers, PPP leaders and high ranking officials.