Notwithstanding a series of
crises faced by his government, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani has dismissed any chance of early polls, saying
the next general election would be held as scheduled in 2013.
The government will follow the constitutional and due
legal process to hold the next general election, Gilani told
reporters in his hometown of Multan last evening.
"Some have-nots wish to become haves and they talk of
elections. But they don't know that we will act according to
the law and Constitution. We are moving according to the
consensus in Parliament," he said.
Asked about relations between President Asif Ali Zardari
and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Gilani said, "Their
relations are very good".
He rejected media reports that he had "begged" the army
chief to accept a three-year extension in service last year,
and said there was confusion on the issue due to the English
translation of his remarks in Urdu.
Gilani said the coalition government led by the Pakistan
People's Party is stable and all political parties have agreed
that Parliament should complete its tenure.
The hue and cry for early polls was aimed at sabotaging
elections to the Senate or upper house of Parliament scheduled
for March, he contended.
The PPP-led government has faced pressure from the
powerful security establishment in recent weeks over a secret
memo that sought the US help to stave off a possible military
takeover in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin
Laden in May.
In response to a question about Pakistan's relations with
the US in the wake of the NATO air strike that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers last month, Gilani said the revised foreign
policy for ties with the US and NATO would be approved by
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security was
preparing recommendations for new terms of engagement with the
US that will be debated during a joint session of the two
houses of Parliament, Gilani said.
Pakistan wants a stable and strong Afghanistan and
intends to maintain friendly relations with the neighbouring
country, he said in response to another question.
Replying to a query, Gilani said the PPP and its allies
would try to forge consensus on the demand to create Seraiki
province in southern Punjab.
The demand enjoyed the support of the partners in the
PPP-led coalition, he said.
Asked about the growing stature of Imran Khan's Pakistan
Tehrik-e-Insaf party, Gilani said the PPP's committed workers
were not threatened by such parties.
"Parties that are formed overnight usually end
overnight," he said.
First Published: Saturday, December 31, 2011, 14:46