Gilani says 'not happy' with PPP govt led by Ashraf



Lahore: Differences between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gilani have come to the fore, with an "unhappy" former premier speaking out for the first time against PPP-led government for its inability to avert his son's arrest and for "unceremoniously" changing bureaucrats appointed by him.

Gilani was convicted of contempt and disqualified as a lawmaker by the Supreme Court in June after he refused to act on orders to revive graft cases against Zardari in Switzerland. He was replaced by Raja Pervez Ashraf as Premier.

"I am not happy with the government (led by Ashraf) for its inability to avert the arrest of my son, Ali Musa, in the premises of the Supreme Court and for changing my team of bureaucrats," Gilani said.

After living in the presidency since his ouster from the post of Premier, Gilani recently decided to return to his hometown of Multan in Punjab province.

"There is no point in my staying at the presidency if my party's government fails to stop the arrest of my son in the 'red zone' of Islamabad... Why only my son?" the former premier told a small group of journalists late last night.

Ali Musa was recently arrested by the army-run Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) within the Supreme Court complex when he went to seek bail in connection with a case. He was subsequently granted bail by the court.

The ANF has named him as an accused over alleged irregularities in the import of the controlled drug ephedrine.

Gilani said he had not expected that the team of bureaucrats appointed by him would be removed from their posts in "such an unceremonious" way. "They were not even offered a cup of tea. Had this action been taken by a PML-N government, the treatment would have made sense."

Gilani said he had left the presidency without informing Zardari. The government led by Ashraf appeared helpless in preventing the arrest of his son and this was the primary reason for his decision to leave the presidency, he added.

Asked whether Ashraf had taken dictation from the security establishment to remove his team of bureaucrats, Gilani said: "I followed the spirit of the PPP during my tenure as Prime Minister, which I think the present (incumbent) lacks."

Referring to reports that the ANF wants to investigate him in the ephedrine case as well, Gilani said: "I welcome it. But if the ANF does so, it means (federal minister) Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Ali Musa are innocent." Both Shahabuddin and Ali Musa have been named as accused by the ANF, which is led by officers from the army.

Clarifying his recent statement that an "unannounced Bangladesh-model government" of technocrats is functioning in Pakistan, Gilani said: "I had referred to the judiciary, not the presidency, when I said decisions are being taken somewhere else and Parliament is worthless."

"The decisions of the judiciary are accepted and not those of Parliament. The National Assembly Speaker's decision in my case was not accepted," he said, referring to the Speaker's decision against his disqualification.

Gilani said Parliament should have protested when the Speaker's decisions were not accepted as the dignity of the House was being lowered. "Now it's too late for Parliament to protest over dual nationality," he said, referring to the apex court's decision to disqualify several lawmakers who have dual nationality.

He said he had told the PPP that there should be no compromise on the President's immunity in approaching Swiss authorities regarding the reopening of graft cases against Zardari.

"Without interpreting the President's immunity, writing the letter amounts to treason," he said.

PTI