Consensus will be evolved on Saraiki province: Gilani
16 April, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday consensus would be evolved on the issue of Saraiki province in southern Punjab.
Addressing a press conference, he said the manifesto committee of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) would decide contours of Saraiki province.
He said Saraiki province was a work in progress for centuries and now many organisations were working on the issue, adding that the PPP had given voice to the aspirations of the people of Saraiki belt.
Gilani also welcomed a statement of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif about a new province, and said that creation of new provinces was part of manifesto of many parties.
The prime minister said that even members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supported Saraiki province.
"ANP President Asfandyar Wali told me that creation of Saraiki province is part of their party's manifesto," the prime minister added.
The prime minister said there was no confrontation with the Supreme Court. However, he added, appointment of officers, including attorney general, was prerogative of the government.
The prime minister said general elections would be held on time and at present the issues of holding local bodies elections and voter lists were before courts. He said he had taken coalition partners along and any decision on elections would be taken after consultation.
Gilani said job creation, food security and meeting energy shortages would be priorities in the next federal budget. He said the government had controlled the problem of inflation. He said provinces were responsible for controlling price hike and profiteering. "However, the federal government is sharing the burden of provinces by importing fertilisers worth billions of rupees and giving it to farmers along with subsidy," the prime minister said.
The Benazir Income Support Programme will continue with other programmes to provide relief to people, Gilani said.
He said PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat had given him suggestion that federal and provincial governments should pool their resources to resolve the issue of circular debt.
He said Pakistan sees the United States as a partner and relations of the two countries should be based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
He said that during his meeting with US President Barack Obama, he conveyed his viewpoint that Pakistan and the US could not take forward their bilateral ties without support of the people.
"President Obama responded that his country respects sovereignty of Pakistan and will also respect the resolution of parliament but their security needs should also be taken care of," Gilani said. He also said foreigners should not use Pakistani soil to spread terrorism.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Sunday said that President Asif Ali Zardari was playing politics on the issue of Saraiki province.
"Had the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government been sincere in the creation of Saraiki province, it could have evolved consensus like it had done on the constitutional amendments," PML-N Central Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan said.
The PML-N leader accused the government of spreading a sense of deprivation in the country and urged that President Zardari should bring Saraiki province on a proper constitutional forum, if he was sincere to the cause.
He said that the PML-N never opposed the creation of new federating units.