Qureshi demands resignation of Zardari, Gilani

Qureshi said Pak wants leaders that can "feel and die" for the country.

Last Updated: May 08, 2011, 00:41 AM IST

Lahore: Former Pakistan foreign minister
Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday demanded the resignation of
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani in the wake of the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden
in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad.

Addressing a news conference here this afternoon,
Qureshi said action should also be taken against the heads of
the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence if they were held
responsible by any official inquiry into the incident.

"I demand that the President and the Prime Minister
must resign.If they cannot defend the people of Pakistan, they
have no right to stay in power," a visibly angry Qureshi said.

"This was such a major incident and this impression
being given of business as usual (cannot continue).

Today the people are saying that the time has come
that somebody should take responsibility for this incident.

I am going to demand in the meeting of the (Pakistan
People`s Party`s) central executive committee that the
President and the Prime Minister must resign," he said.

Asked about the role of the chiefs of the army and the
ISI, he said: "If the inquiry committee holds people
responsible in those ranks, then heads must roll."

Qureshi was not reallocated the foreign affairs
portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle in February after he toed the
military`s line on the issue of CIA contractor Raymond Davis,
who was arrested for shooting two Pakistani men in Lahore.

Qureshi`s contention that Davis was not entitled to
blanket immunity angered the top leadership of the PPP.

Since then, Qureshi has been largely sidelined in the
PPP and not invited to some crucial meetings of the top
leadership.

Qureshi said Pakistanis were looking for leadership
that could "feel and die" for the country.

He contended that the US had crossed a "red line" by
carrying out a military operation to kill bin Laden without
Pakistan`s permission.

Pakistan is a partner of the US in the war on terror
but "is this an answer to our commitment and sacrifices, he
asked."

Zardari had time to write an article for a US
newspaper on the issue of bin Laden but neither he nor the
prime minister bothered to take the nation into confidence, he
said.

"The Prime Minister should immediately call a meeting
of the Defence Committee of Cabinet and discuss this matter
which matters to the whole nation," he said. Every Pakistani
was angry and embarrassed over the bin Laden episode, he said.

Besides Qureshi, former premier Nawaz Sharif`s PML-N
party and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan`s
Tehrik-e-Insaf party have demanded that some heads must roll
in the wake of the "unauthorised" US raid in Pakistani
territory.

PTI