Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Thursday said that Speaker of the National Assembly had taken decision on reference against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani under the constitutional provisions and she had made up her mind after taking advice from senior lawyers.

Talking to reporters at the convention centerIslamabad, Kaira said that everyone knew the fact that despite being a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) member, the Speaker had always remained impartial in conducting business in the House.

“The senior lawyers gave advice to the Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza not to forward the reference against the prime minister,” he said and added that even chief justice ofPakistanalso conceded the prime minister's right to file an appeal against the apex court order.

Responding to a question whether or not the Speaker NA had any role in forwarding the reference against the prime minister, the minister said, “If the Speaker had no right to take a decision on the reference, why the reference was sent to her and why the constitution has given her 30 days time to take a decision on any such reference.”

He said not only all the political parties but the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) itself had accepted the speaker bipartisan role during the last four years.

“We know what it takes to get democracy in the country and the PPP leadership and workers have rendered sacrifices for the democratic order but on the other hand the PML-N has never done so and thus they don't know how much blood you have to give to safeguard democratic process,” he added.

He said the PPP would not bow to threats being hurled by the PML-N leadership and the government would not retaliate to such language as it wanted to take the democratic process ahead.

Kaira said that all political forces, except for some members of the PML-N, were convinced that the prime minister had the right to file an appeal against the court order.

He also said that the apex court also had not disqualified the prime minister and rather a specific political party was repeatedly stating not to accept the hard facts.

Kaira said that the PML-N had accepted the speaker's discretionary powers in reference against Javed Hashmi's but were bent upon to contradict them in the Prime Minister's case.

He also referred to the conviction of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and said if Sharif's conviction could be overturned after lapse of nine long years why Prime Minister Gilani's matter was being questioned.

He said all the state institutions including the international community accepted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as an elected chief executive of the country but the PML-N leadership was hell bent to distort this fact and questioned his authority.

The Minister urged Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to send his party's nomination to the Parliamentary Committee on appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner if he believed in democratic norms.

He said though Nisar had questioned the nominations made by the Prime Minister, however, the PPP believed in upholding the democratic traditions and it would welcome the nominations made by the PML-N leader.

Rehman Malik 

Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on Thursday termed Mirza's decision not to send reference against the prime minister to election commission “the victory of democracy”.

“The decision is based on wisdom and in accordance with country's Constitution.As the ruling has come from a democratically elected Speaker, it is a win of democracy”, he said talking to media representatives at a local hotel inIslamabad.

The minister said that the country was facing problems and the decision would help bring an end to uncertainty.

“Speaker's ruling is always considered final and those condemning her are in fact condemning the democracy,” he remarked.

He said the government had high regard for Supreme Court but qualification or disqualification of a member was the prerogative of National Assembly Speaker.

He said democracy in the country was restored after a great struggle and          PML-N should not take such steps which could damage it (democracy).

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