Wednesday, 02 February 2011 10:46:19
Govt has no intention to change blasphemy law: PM
ISLAMABAD, Feb 1 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday categorically reiterated that the government has no intention of bringing any amendment in the blasphemy law.“Every Muslim respects Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and I have stated many times that the government has no intention of changing the blasphemy law”, he said in a live “Prime Minister On Line” PTV programme co-hosted by Dunya TV.
The Prime Minister said despite his clarification some people were taking out rallies, adding, he will invite them to talks and will once again dispel the impression of any change in the blasphemy law, on the floor of the house.
Gilani during the live “Prime Minister On Line” programme answered queries of the general public through live telephone calls on a host of issues ranging from the problems of common man like price hike to the political situation and terrorism and extremism.
Responding to a question about the statement of Mian Nawaz Sharif that the Prime Minister helped Mian brothers when an attempt was made to implicate them in the murder of Salman Taseer, he said he has no knowledge about what the PML(N) chief stated.
Nawaz Sharif is his friend, he said adding, “we want to strengthen and support the democratic system.”
To a question about the killing of Pakistani nationals by an American in Lahore, he said he condemned the unfortunate incident and now the court will take a decision on the case.
“We will respect the decision of the court,” he said adding the trial of Dr. Aafia was done according to American law while the case of Lahore incident will be decided according to Pakistani law.
The Prime Minister said the foreign and interior ministries will inform about the status of the American citizen.
Gilani said reshuffle in cabinet is a routine matter and during the ongoing negotiations with the political parties including PML(N) the cabinet size will be determined in line with the 18th amendment.
There is a need to increase the tax base and create additional sources of revenue, he said adding when the foreign governments spend their taxpayers money to support Pakistan, then they expect that Pakistanis should also pay tax.
Gilani said current government and opposition talks are focusing on ways to generate additional sources of income and devise a mechanism to adjust petroleum prices according to the rising international prices.
Despite the rise in global petroleum prices the government maintained the same prices which last time were raised in October, he told.
“Last month we wanted to raise prices but there was a lot of pressure from the parties in parliament,” he said adding the heads of parliamentary parties were invited to discuss the issue and were briefed on present state of the economy.
The Prime Minister said the government this week again deferred the decision to raise petroleum prices and suffered a revenue loss of Rs.8 billion. It kept the prices at the same level because the Government was in the middle of talks with parties in parliament, which were asked to propose a solution to tackle the issue.
He said it was unfortunate that politicians were always a soft target for levelling corruption allegations and said instead of hurling wild accusations specific persons should be mentioned.
He pledged to take action against anybody in the government who is involved in malpractice.
“It is wrong to jump to the conclusion before hand and evidence should be presented,” he remarked.
The Prime Minister said the role of judiciary, executive and parliament has been defined in the constitution and there is trichotomy of power.
There will be no conflict among the institutions, if everybody works in the ambit of constitution, he added.
Prime Minister Gilani, to a question about drone attacks, referred to his meeting with a delegation of US Congressmen on Monday and said he raised the issue with it. He told them that the drone attacks were counter-productive and people in Pakistan disliked these attacks.
Gilani said he told the delegation that the United States should provide the drone technology to Pakistan and pass on the credible and actionable intelligence information, so that our forces could take action against terrorists and extremists on their own.
He further said that Pakistan through its strategy separates the terrorists and common people in tribal areas, but due to drone attacks, they get united again.
The Prime Minister said he also told the US Congressmen that people in Pakistan also did not like the US’ discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan as compared to India.
Responding to a question about price-hike and inflation, the Prime Minister said the federal and provincial governments were equally responsible to check price hike through various measures including the formation of price control committees.
He, however, was confident that as the deliberations between the government and PML-N committee on various challenges including the economic problems facing the country were in progress, a mechanism would be evolved to check price-hike.
The Prime Minister did not agree with the view that the increased prices of agriculture produce spiralled inflation and said that despite global recession, the government through diversification in agriculture sector ensured food security in the country.
He said growers community in Pakistan, which is a agri-based country with 65 to 70 percent of population depending on agriculture, was prospering.
The Prime Minister in response to a question said that despite global recession, energy shortage and the war on terror, Pakistan was among the list of growing economies in the world.
To a question about allegations of corruption on various segments of the society including politicians, the Prime Minister said, allegations remain accusations until proved.
He said the politicians have always been a soft target and since 1958, the governments of PPP, PML-N and Muhammad Khan Junejo were removed on the charges of corruption.
Responding to another question, Prime Minister Gilani said law and order situation, which also includes terrorism and extremism, and economic problems were two major challenges confronting the country.
The law and order and economy were inter-linked, as with poor law and order situation and terrorist attacks, there is no economic growth in the country and the investors shy away, he added.
The Prime Minister, however, added that he after becoming head of the government took all political forces on board and a resolution was adopted in the National Assembly, after which a successful military operation was conducted in Swat.
Gilani said the terrorists and extremists, who are being defeated and dislocated from their strongholds, were now indulging in the cowardly acts of terrorism in cities and targeting innocent civilians and brave police personnel.
The Prime Minister, particularly, paid glowing tributes to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa as well as the personnel of armed forces, frontier constabulary and police for their courage in the war against terrorism and extremism.
He was confidant that Pakistan has a bright future and again hailed the courage of PKP people, who were rendering great sacrifices for the future of country.
To another question, the Prime Minister said the personnel of police, who had embraced martyrdom in the war against terrorism, would be given awards in recognition of their services.
To a question about the relationship between government and establishment, the Prime Minister said the current Establishment in Pakistan is pro-democracy.
When asked as if his government has any threat, Prime Minister Gilani said, “one should not go into such things; there is democracy and a democratic government in the country. If we will feel that we are not doing good job, we will leave and give opportunity to any other party.”
He said the political parties can also serve the people even without being in the government.
To another question, the Prime Minister said, the democratic dispensations did not complete their tenures in the past, adding, however, this time around, situation was better due to the politics of reconciliation.
The Prime Minister in response to a question said the 50 percent and 100 percent raise in the salaries of government employees and the personnel of armed forces, respectively, were the daring step taken by the present government.
The Prime Minister agreed with a questioner that curtailing the development expenditures was not good for development of the country but added that his government had to cut the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) due to economic problems.
He regretted that some people go to the extent of comparing the situation in Egypt with Pakistan and said, with a democratic and elected government in Pakistan along with a strong parliament, lively opposition, independent judiciary, vibrant media and active civil society, there was no comparison of the situations in the two countries.