Martial law era has ended: Gilani
LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said neither the Pakistan People’s Party nor the army has anything to gain from the Arsalan case and urged Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to hear the case of his son, Ali Musa Gilani.
“Neither we nor the army is the beneficiary of this case. And how can we be. The masses have elected us not the judiciary and the army is an institution and it has no role in it,” he said while answering a question during a meeting with newsmen at the State Guest House here on Sunday.
He said his son Abdul Qadir Gilani faced allegations in the Haj scam which could not be proved and the chief justice ordered legal action against those who had levelled false allegations against him (Qadir).
“As the chief justice cannot hear the case of his own son (Arsalan), he should consider my son (Ali Musa) his own son and hear his case because he is only facing an allegation of having made a phone call in the ephedrine case,” Mr Gilani asked.
On a question that Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon, was a friend of adviser to the prime minister on interior affairs Rehman Malik, the prime minister said: “Riaz Malik is a friend of all politicians, including Nawaz Sharif.”
He declined to comment when asked whether the chief justice should resign over corruption allegations levelled against his son (Arsalan). “The matter is sub judice and I will not comment on it,” he said.
The prime minister was critical of PML-N President Nawaz Sharif for becoming a party in every high-profile case. “Which gate (memogate and others) Mr Sharif did not become a party to. Let’s see if he is thinking of becoming a party in the Arsalan case too,” he said, adding that Nawaz Sharif was particularly targeting him these days because he wanted to prove that his party was a ‘real opposition’. Because of his fear of Imran Khan, he said, Mr Sharif was behaving like this.
When asked if the current situation could lead to martial law. “The era of martial law is over. There is no room for martial law,” he said.
About the standoff in Pak-US relations over reopening of Nato supply routes, Mr Gilani said: “Pakistan will decide restoration of Nato supply routes in the best national interest. We will take all stakeholders on board, besides considering the recommendations of the parliamentary committee in this regard.”
He said democratic forces did not believe in non-party elections and days of the politics of 1980s were gone. “The local bodies elections in Punjab should be held on party basis and as per directions of the apex court. Election on non-party basis is a tool of dictators to form a king’s party.”
The prime minister said other three provinces had decided to hold local government elections on party basis and Punjab should follow suit. “I ask the Punjab government to follow the order of the Supreme Court in this regard and hold local polls.”
Mr Gilani said he ‘felt sorry’ for Shahbaz Sharif for setting up a tent office at Minar-i-Pakistan. He said the Punjab government rejected Shujaat’s formula to overcome loadshedding and also refused to contribute funds although major resources had been transferred to the provinces. He said despite the current bickering between the PPP and PML-N there was still room for reconciliation.
He said the PML-N’s double standards had been exposed in the new budget of the Punjab government because it had submitted a resolution for creation of south Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces but it did not earmark any funds for them.
Answering a question, the prime minister said if there was a law existed on dual nationality why it was not applied when ‘imported’ prime ministers ruled the country. He said expatriates contributed $12 billion a year to the country’s economy.
“If they (expatriates) have right to vote why they cannot become members of parliament.”
Mr Gilani said Pakistan today had good relations with India, Iran, China, Afghanistan and Russia which his predecessors never had.
“Our trade agreement with India will benefit our economy and we are also signing gas agreements with India, Qatar and Iran,” he said.