PESHAWAR, Nov 22: Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said that the days of ‘jiyala’ politics are gone and that his government has introduced a new political culture that is based on respect, dignity and tolerance.

“All decisions will now be made on merit,” Mr Jamali said while addressing workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q and opposition leaders in the NWFP Assembly at the Governor’s House on Saturday.

NWFP Governor Lt-Gen Syed Iftikhar Hussain Shah was also present on the occasion.

Visibly hurt by remarks made by a party worker against another worker of a splinter group within the party in the province, he said Balochistan and the NWFP had their own traditions set in tolerance and mutual respect. It “looks like here too people have forgotten those traditions due to politics and have become political workers,” he remarked.

“Everybody should seek rights but there is a way to do so,” he said. “The PML workers should not behave like ‘jiyalas’,” he remarked.

Mr Jamali said the NWFP was a stronghold of the PML and would continue to do so in future. The five PML factions had got together whose president was Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. “The remaining offices would be filled later,” he added.

Responding to the closure of flour mills in the province, he said the federal government would play its role to help recommission them but the provincial government, too, should play its part.

He said his government welcomed criticism from the print media but it should be against the government and not the state.

The prime minister assured support to the opposition groups in the NWFP Assembly. “The PML-Q will have its own share,” he said without elaborating. He would visit Peshawar again in January and try to resolve all their issues, he said, adding that elections for various offices of the PML-Q in the NWFP would be held soon.

He urged the journalists to differentiate between the government and the state. “There is a difference between the two,” he said. “Write whatever you wish to write against me or my government, good or bad. But please do not write anything which goes against the interests of Pakistan.” He handed over a check of Rs5 million to the Peshawar Press Club.

Club President Jan Afzal presented a souvenir to the prime minister.

Meanwhile, leaders of the opposition groups told the prime minister they had formed an alliance to check the wrong policies of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government and urged the federal government to support them in their endeavour.

NWFP Assembly leader of the opposition Shehzada Gustasip Khan urged Mr Jamali to take the opposition groups in the NWFP along.

Pakistan People’s Party-S Sikandar Hayat Sherpao urged the premier to announce a special package for the province. “There is a growing sense of deprivation here.

“I have forgotten the package in helicopter. Next time when I come I will bring it along,” Mr Jamali quipped in a lighter vein.

Addressing a group of parliamentarians, he said: “Our government has changed the political culture and brought decency in it,” adds APP.

The prime minister urged them to run the party affairs with tolerance, flexibility, commitment and dedication. “It takes great courage to run party affairs as it has to be done with patience,” he added.

On law and order, the prime minister assured that he would discuss the matter with the chief minister and, if need be, the federal government would coordinate with the provincial government to address the problem.