Yousuf Raza Gilani wants Pervez Musharraf to be accountable

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that the architect of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), Pervez Musharraf, should also face accountability.

Talking to a delegation of the Lahore Press Club office-bearers, who met him at the Prime Minister House here, he said Law Minister Babar Awan would appear before the Supreme Court on May 25 and apprise it of the implementation of the SC verdict on the NRO, as an official of the government. He would present the government’s viewpoint before the SC, the prime minister added. Gilani said the government would implement the SC verdicts and cooperate with it on the NRO issue. He said it would have been better if the architect of the NRO had also been called for his version.

The prime minister said the then ruling government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and its allied parties had, initially, refused to endorse the NRO. Musharraf, while addressing a cabinet meeting, had warned the PML-Q that if they did not endorse the

NRO, Benazir Bhutto would become the prime minister for the third time. As the Q-League

was reluctant to accept Benazir as the PM, it approved the NRO.

“My government is committed to strengthening the institutions, including the Supreme Court. For the first time, the PPP has changed its stance and it has taken the Establishment into confidence over to the current political, economic and geographical situation of the country,” the premier added.

“I always consult the Establishment as well as the chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the chief Justice of Pakistan over various issues. We have adopted the policy of reconciliation and we do not want any clash amongst the institutions,” Gilani said.

He said he had welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the promotion of bureaucrats and directed the principal secretary to formulate the rules in the light of the SC verdict.

He said the army regained its respect over the issue of war on terror and it was all because of parliament’s support. He said neither the PPP nor the PML-N played any significant role in the removal of Pervez Musharraf, as he was sent packing because of pressure of the international community. It was Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, who mobilised the international community for the removal of Pervez Musharraf. She had convinced the world that dictatorship could not help solve the internal and external issues of the country.

Gilani said Benazir Bhutto played a major role when Pervez Musharraf imposed a ban on the media and removed CJ Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry after declaring an emergency in the country. He said that it was Benazir, who convinced the PML-N leader Mian Nawaz Sharif to return to the country and participate in the elections.

Agencies add: PM Gilani said the government had always respected the judiciary and it would continue doing so in larger national interest. The government’s policy of reconciliation and tolerance would help improve the situation, he added. The prime minister said all institutions had to work in harmony to ensure stability and prosperity of the country, adding the system laid down by the Constitution clearly demarcated their responsibilities.

Appreciating the media’s role in creating awareness among the people, he said the media also had the responsibility to help establish peace and harmony in society. The media, he added, had to be balanced and objective while discharging its responsibilities to inform and guide people on the national issues.

To a question on the performance of the government, the prime minister elaborated the decision-making process at the federal level. In this context, he mentioned regular cabinet meetings since its inception, meetings of the Economic Coordination Committee and his regular attendance at both the houses of parliament. These forums not only help in the decision-making, but also ensure the accountability of government initiatives on various fronts, he maintained.

Answering another query, Gilani said the present government had implemented a majority of commitments through the party manifesto. The PPP, he added, has made supreme sacrifices for the restoration of democracy and would continue with the spirit for strengthening the democratic system.

Congratulating the party’s winning candidates in by-polls, Jamshed Dasti (NA-178) Muzaffargarh and Asghar Ali Jatt (NA-167) Vehari, the PM requested Minister for Defence and Defence Production Abdul Qayyum Jatoi to reconsider his resignation.

“Qayyum Jatoi’s performance was good and the party values his worth and has full confidence in his leadership as well as recognises his services,” he maintained. The prime minister assured the LPC office-bearers that he would ask federal ministers and request the Chairman of National Implementation Commission for frequent interaction with the media and utilise platforms like the Lahore Press Club.

Gilani also directed authorities concerned to ensure mass publication of a book on the two-year performance of the government to facilitate the media, diplomats and other segments of the society.

The LPC delegation appreciated the reconciliatory approach of the prime minister which had helped resolve various crisis. They said the 18th Amendment, the NFC Award, Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package, internal autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan and settlement of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) were undoubtedly great achievements of the present government.

The LPC office-bearers also acknowledged that the PM visit to the United States to attend the Nuclear Summit and to Bhutan for the Saarc Summit had improved Pakistan’s image at international level.

LPC President Sarmad Bashir headed the delegation comprising Vice-President Amir Waqas Chaudhry, General Secretary Zia Ullah Khan Niazi, Treasurer Ansaar Zahid and members of the executive body.

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