Gilani says he will lose PM office if convicted
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said if convicted of contempt of court, he would automatically lose his office so there was no need for him to quit.
“There’s no need to step down,” he said. “If I’m convicted, then I’m not supposed to be a member of the parliament.”
Gilani, in an interview broadcast on Saturday, said corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari were “politically motivated” and that the president had immunity as head of state.
The premier’s statements were aired on the eve of a hearing at which he faces indictment for contempt of court over his refusal to request the reopening of corruption cases against his party chief.
“There had been a lot of cases against him, and they were all politically motivated,” Gilani told Al Jazeera television, referring to Zardari.
“He has got immunity. And he has not got immunity only in Pakistan, he has transnational immunity, even all over the world.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Gilani also criticised US drone attacks as counter-productive and said authorities in Islamabad gave no authorisation for them.
“I want to inform you that we did not allow or give permission to fly drones from Pakistan,” he said.
“Number two, drones are counterproductive. And we had discussed thoroughly with the US administration that we at times make a lot of efforts to very successfully isolate militants from the local tribes.”
Drone attacks generated negative reaction, he said, with tribesmen in areas bordering Afghanistan.
“Then the local tribes and the militants, they get united again,” he said. “They make our jobs extremely difficult. Then there is less political space for us.”
Gilani also said he had “good relations” with the military “at the moment”.
That was a reference to tensions pitting the civilian government against the military over the memo case.
Asked about the future of Afghanistan, Gilani said Pakistan would support any Afghan-led peace initiative and did not back the Afghan Taliban to take over.
“We are not supporting them. It’s not our job. Why should we support them?”
Gilani also said that India and Pakistan could not afford more conflict and were ready to discuss the issues that have long hampered the normalisation of relations.
“We have agreed to discuss all our core issues, including the issue of Kashmir,” he said.