SAHIWAL: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira on Friday dispelled the impression that former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was made a scapegoat, saying he firmly defended his party's stance on NRO case in the Supreme Court.
Addressing a press conference, he said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had always offered sacrifices for strengthening democracy in the country.
The information minister reiterated that elections would be held on time and the assemblies would complete their tenure on March 18, 2013. The caretaker government would be installed to hold free and fair elections within 60 days, he added.
Replying to a question, he said the government went ahead in the case as the court said it would take care of the federation's reservations and wanted to have a middle way, while resolving the matter in accordance with the Constitution.
He hoped the issue would be resolved amicably as he was of the view that the PPP had always respected the judiciary and had no intention of confronting it.
He said some politicians including Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif resorted to gaining publicity and fame by criticising President Asif Ali Zardari.
Regarding Khan's “peace march” to South Waziristan, he said the government did not want to stop the march, but everybody knows about the situation in the agency.
He said Pakistan Army was a national institution and did not support any political party rather it worked under the government and would perform its duties in accordance with the Constitution.
Kaira said the government was taking all political parties on board and it respected their mandate to resolve diverse issues.
He said Yousuf Raza Gilani's interview had been quoted out of context as democracy was taking roots and there was a need to further strengthen it.
Gilani, he said, did not mean that there was no democracy in the country at all, rather his statement meant that the democracy could be further underpinned to resolve various issues.
Commenting on Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s allegation over recordings of the government doling out funds to the journalists, the minister challenged him to produce the recordings and asked him as to which secret agency he belonged to as making recordings was the work of secret agencies.
Allegations were levelled against the government that it had over Rs 4 billion secret fund to appease the journalists.
All the funds of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were auditable and were utilised in a transparent manner, said Kaira.
He said an organized campaign was launched against the party's chairman and a respectable cabinet member, using objectionable language. In the past too, he added, the PPP leaders were subjected to such baseless allegations.
Regarding a question about office of the president, he said the US president is the supreme commander but he did politics, adding office of the president is a part of the parliament which was purely a political organ and having president, senate and national assembly as its composition.
Kaira said the PPP was taking all political parties on board and consulted allied parties instead of giving dictations on any issue.
Regarding Pakistan Muslim League-Nawz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif's statement on Balochistan, the information minister said police controlled around 5 per cent of the province while 95 per cent was controlled by separate systems and if FC was withdrawn then the situation could deteriorate further.
He also appealed to the Balochs to come forward to further improve situation by participating in the election process as, he added, the government had already taken initiatives including NFC award and constitutional amendments.
Although, the Election Commission had a chairman who was proposed by the PML-N chief himself, the minister said, but still Sharif has expressed apprehension that free and fair elections were not possible in the province.
Moreover, he said, the caretaker government would also be formed in consultation with the leader of the opposition and the election commission, so there should be no question of any doubt in this regard, he added.