Senate elections to be held in March: Gilani

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said that the Senate election would be held according to schedule in March and if those were stopped through undemocratic means, it would have negative effect on the country.

Responding to callers from across the country in a live PTV’s Prime Minister Online programme, the Prime Minister said all political activities were due to the Senate election and conspiracies were being hatched to stop them.He said that every one knew that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would attain majority in the Senate elections.He told the critics that every thing should be done in accordance with the Constitution and anyone could be in power or in opposition. The Prime Minister said it was the task of Information Ministry to highlight achievements of the government and the PPP government had a lot of achievements to show to the people.
He said due to global economic recession, Pakistan was also affected like other countries of the world and many companies were given bail-outs.
He said despite all odds, 3500 megawatts power were added to the national grid and added that before end of the tenure, the government would be able to avoid unscheduled loadshedding.
The Prime Minister said a special cabinet meeting would be held a day after tomorrow to tackle the issues of energy and gas shortage.
In winter, due to shortage of water, the power generation has been reduced, he added.
The government, he said, had been working on all alternative sources of energy.
He said the policy of Independent Power Producers (IPP) was sabotaged by Saifur Rehman when there was a need for consistency in the energy policy.
He underlined the need for consistency in policies and regretted that every government changed policies of the previous one.”We want to have consistent policies and the government should be given the chance to work,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the fuel prices are a global issue.The fuel prices at international level are adjusted in the local market and the government does not want to continue the system of subsidies, he continued.
The Prime Minister said the government was making efforts to control the price hike.
Referring to corruption charges on the government, he said that every political government in the past was removed on charges of corruption.
He said after the corruption charges, the dictators came to power. He said Mian Nawaz Sharif should know that if there is corruption charges against the government he (Nawaz) will not get the power.
Replying to a question about education system, the Prime Minister said after 18th Amendment, health and education have become provincial subjects.
He said the Council of Common Interests was the highest forum to discuss the issues like system of education and all the provinces attended its meeting and agreed to have uniform policy for education.
The Prime Minister said all the chief ministers will be asked that for national interest and cohesion, there should be a unified education system in all the provinces in accordance with the decisions of CCI.
Answering another question about Saraiki province, the Prime Minister said it was recognition of the PPP that it selected the Prime Minister from the Saraiki area.
He said the government will adopt constitutional ways in the National Assembly and Senate and approve the demand of the Saraiki people.
Replying to another question, the Prime Minister said it is the policy of party that those who had been victimised in the previous government, should be reinstated and regularised.
The Prime Minister congratulated the whole nation and people living abroad on the occasion of New Year.
He congratulated the PTV and other private channels who had been working for Prime Minister Online Programme that has completed one year Gilani said power is a musical chair and there is a chance for every one to come again.
About war on terrorism, the Prime Minister said terrorism and extremism were a global phenomenon and a threat to the whole world.
He said the government had succeeded in motivating the public to stay united against terrorism as it was harmful to the national interest.
He said the government successfully established its writ in Swat and Malakand through war against terror and 2.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) went back to their homes.
The Prime Minister said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security had been preparing recommendations to review Pakistan’s relations with NATO and the United States.
The committee’s recommendations will be presented in the joint session of Parliament for taking a final decision on the future policy in this regard, he added.
He said that without the support of people, no war could be won.
The Prime Minister said the government was pursuing the policy of dialogue, development and deterrence.
If the militants will denounce terrorism, then there is no harm to negotiate with them, he said, adding that the 3D policy had been appreciated at the world level.
Replying to another question, the Prime Minister said after great struggle, the government was able to restore democracy and reinstate judiciary.
He said due to democracy, the media and the judiciary would be able to work freely and without democracy they could not do their business.
“We should respect the mandate of the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Regarding Pak-US relations, the Prime Minister said during the joint session of Parliament and the All Parties Conference the government told the international community that ‘peace should be give a chance’ and that there should be new engagements with the US.
The Prime Minister said that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security had been preparing recommendations that would be discussed by the joint session of Parliament to take a final decision on these issues.
He said the parliamentary committee was the real forum as the Parliament had the support of the people of country.
Replying to another question, the Prime Minister said Pakistan’s relations with the US had ups and downs. “We are still maintaining these relations and now the situation is that we have to take along public sentiments on these relations,” he added.
He said there was a need to have new engagements in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Pakistan.
Gilani said that the government restored the Constitution that indicated that the government respected the judiciary and other institutions.
He said the trichotomy of power should be taken care by every one and if it is followed, “I do not have any threat from judiciary”.
The Prime Minister while replying to a question about opportunities for the youth, said the issue was discussed in the Executive Committee of the PPP Punjab today and many options were discussed to give more facilities to the youth of country.
The Ministry of Professional and Technical Training that has the support of all technical departments, will train the youth and also give stipends, he said, adding that the ministry would highlight its programmes very soon in this regard.
The Prime Minister said through the Ministry of Information Technology, the government was planning to set up IT centres, medi-centres and health centres where training and stipends would be given to the youth.
Answering a question about allegations by some politicians against the government, the Prime Minister said, “We are the government and they are the opposition and efforts are being made to create a third force.”
The two main political parties have their connections at grassroots level and the overnight parties, which do not have ideology, cannot contribute anything for the people, the country, future politics and democracy, he added.
Only those are criticizing the PPP and democracy who are becoming overnight politicians and they are helping the third force, he said.
The Prime Minister said that the government had diversified the agriculture sector that ensured food security. He said despite two floods, Pakistan was exporting wheat.
Regarding sugar prices, he said, due to effective measures taken by the government it was now again being sold at Rs. 45 per kilogramme in the open market despite the fact that many forces tried to create shortage of sugar and increased its prices.
He said dams were being constructed and seeds had been imported from China. The future of the country is directly related to agriculture, he added.
The Prime Minister said the government was working on different dams, including Diamer Basha.
Regarding relations with Afghanistan, he said he had very comfortable relations with President Karzai. A peaceful, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s interest, he added.
The Prime Minister said, “We have adopted a foreign policy to have friendly relations with all neighbours; India, China and Iran.”
He said Pakistan had a principled stand on Kashmir and added that the issue should be resolved according to the aspirations of Kashmiris.
Regarding dialogue with India, the Prime Minister said the two countries were working to resolve the disputes. “Every wrong has a remedy and we are discussing all issues with India comfortably,” he added.
Regarding Shamsi Airbase, the Prime Minister said after attack on the checkposts, a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) was held and it was unanimously decided that the Shamsi Airbase should be vacated and NATO supply lines should be closed and these decisions were in accordance with the aspirations of people of Pakistan.
He said as the government took right decisions, therefore, the whole nation, the military leadership and the civil bureaucracy supported it.
Replying to a question, the Prime Minister said all the political parties were giving their manifesto but the PPP had given its manifesto during the last elections and was now implementing it and when the next election would be announced, it would present a fresh manifesto to respond to the new challenges.
He said the elections of 2013 would be fair, free and transparent and the independent Election Commission would be fully empowered to hold free elections.
Giving a message to the party workers, the Prime Minister said that all the workers would be taken along in the next elections.
He said the government would go to the public on the basis of its performance and programmes like the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and other projects, which were proofs of its success.
Rs. 1.5 trillion were spent on development projects and the government created jobs, boosting the national economy, he said, adding that the creation of jobs would remain an important issue in the next elections.
The Prime Minister said that foreign remittances had increased and thanked the overseas Pakistanis for this contribution to the country’s economy.
He said the expatriates are given due respect whenever they arrive in Pakistan.
About the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis, he said, it was the job of Election Commission and assured that he would try to convince the Election Commission on this issue.
Replying to a question about a female job seeker, he said ten percent quota had been reserved for the women by the present government and if she was qualified she would be given the job.
The Prime Minister said the government had prepared a comprehensive policy for the improvement of government institutions.
He said in the 100th meeting of Cabinet held in Karachi on December 27, he made a task force to improve the state institutions and in this regard work on PEPCO, Railways and Steel Mills have been completed while the PIA has been asked to revise its business plan.
He regretted the problems faced by the people due to gas loadshedding and hoped that with the measures being taken by the government, gas loadshedding would be over by the end of this year.
The Prime Minister assured that the government would fulfill its promises.