Islamabad: Hitting out at his political opponents, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that Pakistan's Parliament cannot be held hostage by politicians like PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan who are not elected representatives.
"Some politicians who are not elected representatives cannot make the parliament hostage," Gilani said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an official function.
He criticised the attitude of leaders of Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf head Imran Khan, saying they did not understand the sanctity of the Parliament.
The premier's remarks came a day after the PML-N and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf filed petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the Speaker's decision not to disqualify Gilani after his conviction by the apex court.
Gilani was convicted of contempt and given a symbolic sentence of less than a minute last month for refusing to act on the apex court's orders to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Following the Speaker's decision that the premier cannot be disqualified, Gilani said the matter had been closed and political parties were wasting their time by raising the issue.
Gilani said the Parliament, and not the Prime Minister, is important and that the current House should be allowed to complete its term to strengthen democracy.
Sharif came to power twice and did nothing for the people, he said.
"We do not take his threats seriously. They want to be in government and opposition at same time," he added.
The government intends to hold the next general election on schedule next year, Gilani said.
"We want free, fair and transparent elections in the country and this would be the first ever government in the history of Pakistan to carry out a smooth transition of power," he said.
Asked about the reopening of NATO supply routes to Afghanistan that were closed after a cross-border air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Gilani said a decision will be taken in the national interest after the conclusion of a dialogue with the US.
First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 18:03