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Wednesday, 6 July 2011


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was still a coalition partner of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the government would resist any move by the opposition to destabilize democracy.

“Those who harbour ill intentions will not be allowed to put pressure on us,” he said while answering a question about a move for a grand opposition alliance. The prime minister was talking to reporters after inaugurating three large development projects. “I warn, do not destabilize political democracy because it is not martial law. We have been elected by the people of Pakistan and there is a procedure to remove the government,” he said. The prime minister said there was no threat to democracy and the masses would not support any other system.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N is reported to be actively trying to rope in the MQM to form an opposition alliance. The prime minister said: “Democracy and the government are under no threat from the opposition or corruption.” The MQM, he said, was still part of the government and he was in constant contact with its leaders. “Our allies are with us and if they have any reservations or fears we will try to redress them.”

The prime minister said that if PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain wanted to play a role to pacify the MQM, the government would welcome it. However, back-channel efforts reportedly being made by the PML-N to win over the MQM and a new wave of violence and targeted killings in Karachi may make it difficult for the Muttahida to rejoin the government. Responding to a question about suspension of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Zafar Qureshi, he said it was a routine transfer-posting matter. “The government and the Supreme Court are not face to face on the issue,” he said.

He said Mr Qureshi had been suspended for indiscipline and a grade-22 officer was conducting an inquiry into the matter. Answering a question about those elected in by-elections when the Election Commission was not complete, he said they had been elected with the votes of people. “If there is need, parliament will bring an amendment in this regard.” The prime minister said the petroleum ministry was trying to overcome the shortage of CNG.

He said all previous elected government had been toppled on the pretext of corruption “but nobody talks about corruption committed during military dictatorships”. About the anniversary of the July 5, 1977, military takeover, the prime minister said he strongly condemned what had been done to the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, an elected leader who had given the country the unanimous Constitution of 1973, made Pakistan a nuclear state and launched many mega projects.

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