Gilani asks Nawaz not to strengthen dictators

Every elected government in the past was removed on charges of corruption and this allowed dictators to come to power.

Last Updated: Jan 02, 2012, 00:17 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani cautioned main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz
Sharif that raking up allegations of corruption against the
PPP-led government would only strengthen the hands of
dictators and the "third force".

"I want to tell Nawaz Sharif that raking up allegations
will not give you a chance. It will only give an opportunity
to a third force. We should show political maturity," Gilani
said.

Every elected government in the past was removed on
charges of corruption and this allowed dictators to come to
power, he said.

"People without ideology are criticising the Pakistan
People`s Party and PML-N to create an atmosphere for the third
force," he said.

Gilani did not identify the "third force" though his
remarks appeared to be a veiled reference to the military,
which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its history.

Gilani`s remarks came against the backdrop of tensions
between the civilian government and the powerful military over
the alleged memo that had sought US help to prevent a military
takeover in Pakistan.

The Supreme Court last week set up a judicial commission
to probe what is being described as the "Memogate" scandal.

The premier said opposition parties should approach
courts if they have proof of corruption in the government.

He linked attacks on his government to fears among
political "have nots" of the ruling PPP securing a majority in
upcoming elections to the Senate or upper house of parliament.

The Senate polls will be held as scheduled in March and
if they were stopped through undemocratic means, it would have
a negative effect on the country, Gilani said during the
programme "PM Online" a monthly live television show in which
the premier answers questions from the public.

He contended that all political activities were linked to
the Senate elections and conspiracies were being hatched to
stop them.

Asked about the government`s perceived differences with
the judiciary over the Memogate scandal, Gilani said
Pakistan’s democracy was passing through an evolutionary phase
that could result in some discomfort in the balance of power
between the legislative, executive and judiciary.

"If we follow the constitution and trichotomy (of power),
I don`t feel any threat from anywhere," he said.

Responding to a question about the government holding
talks with the Taliban, Gilani said this could happen only if
the rebels gave up violence.

"If the militants denounce terrorism, what objection is
there (to holding talks with them)?" he asked.

He noted that his government`s policy for tackling
militancy comprised development, dialogue and deterrence.

Asked about Pakistan`s troubled relations with the US,
Gilani said new terms of engagement were needed for the ties
between Islamabad and Washington as his government wanted to
take the public along with it in the wake of a string of
crises.

"True friendship starts after a quarrel. They (the US)
have to address fundamental problems," he said.

PTI