Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that Parliament would formulate uniform policies on all national issues by taking on board all stakeholders and said the government will review the terms of engagement with Nato and the US. In his interaction with journalists at the State Guest House on Sunday, the prime minister maintained that non-participation in Bonn Conference will not affect Pakistan, and that Parliament would formulate uniform policies on all national issues by taking on board all stakeholders. “All outstanding issues like relations with the US, Nato, Isaf, India, Kashmir problem, nuclear programme and all other matters having a direct bearing on country’s sovereignty and security would be debated in the parliament to evolve national consensus.”
Gilani also asserted that parliament was the best forum to formulate national policies through debate and discussion. “We will formulate policies reflecting the aspirations of the people,” he vowed. He informed the journalists that Parliamentary Committee on National Security was in the process of drafting a uniform policy on all national issues and its recommendations would be sent to the parliament. Pakistan will review the terms of engagement with Nato and the US in the wake of attacks on Mohmand border posts, he maintained.
Replying to a question, Gilani said that non-participation in Bonn Conference will not have any negative impact on Pakistan. “There was hardly anything we were gaining from such events previously,” he observed, adding that Pakistan had earlier made commitment to attend the moot only for the sake of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“If I go to attend the conference and there is drone attack back home in the meantime, would not I feel embarrassed and humiliated? What feelings I would experience while returning to Pakistan? Who is responsible for our security and sovereignty?” the PM said this all in one breadth while responding to a question tossed by this scribe. He said Pakistan attended the trilateral conference at Istanbul because it attached greater importance to prosperity and development in Afghanistan. “We want to see a stable Afghanistan”, he added.
Responding to a question, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s nuclear assets were in safe hands under a complete command and control system with the prime minister as the overall in-charge. “I possess the nuclear button and not the President”, he said. While saying so he might have in the back of his mind former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s statement that country’s nuclear assets were not safe with Asif Ali Zardari as President.
To another question, he said democracy in Pakistan would have strengthened and stabilised long ago had there been no frequent military interventions. Democracy in Pakistan, he added, was no longer a one-man show, as there was parliament, the PM and his cabinet, the DCC and parliamentary committees to take decisions with consensus. Recalling how former military ruler Pervez Musharraf bowed to US demands on a single call by the then US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in the aftermath of 9/11, the premier said: “Gone are the days when dictators bowed to US dictates on a single phone call”.
PM Gilani urged politicians to stop labelling their fellow politicians as ‘traitors’. Asking politicians to shun the politics of the 1950’s and 1960’s, he said they should adopt modern ways of politics and work together in the greater national interest. Gilani mentioned that in the past some politicians such as Hussain Shaheed Suhawardi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Maulana Abul A’ala Maududi and Nawab Akbar Bugti too were branded as ‘traitors’ though they were patriots.
To a question, the prime minister said PML-N President Nawaz Sharif had filed a petition before the Supreme Court on the memo issue of his own free will. “This is the basic right of Nawaz Sharif to go to court, but frankly (speaking) we do not know what prompted him to do so,” he said, and added that there had been more important issues in the past, but Mian Nawaz Sharif did not go to the court at that time. He believed the issue has been blown out of proportion. “Pakistan is not as weak to crumble down on publication of one article in a newspaper”, he observed.
To a question, the PM justified giving development package to the parliamentarians, saying, had there been local governments in place to carry out development work, he would not have taken such a decision. “But this also happens in India”, he added.