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Jamali says he has not been asked to resign

June 26, 2004

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ISLAMABAD June 25: Prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has dismissed rumours about his resignation and said that he has neither tendered resignation nor has he been asked to do so and he is not preparing to resign from his post.

He was talking to a group of journalists at a reception here at the Prime Minister's House on Friday.

The prime minister exuded confidence as he expressed displeasure over media reports in this regards and said that he had time and again clarified his position.

A good number of members of the coalition parliamentary group, including cabinet ministers and PML chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, attended the dinner-reception but many others, including those belonging to the MQM, were not present.

He said: "Rest assured, the president has reassured me. I have no problems with the party and as such there is no truth in reports about an in-house change".

He said: "I am perturbed about the repetition of these reports while my word as chief executive should have been sufficient to end the confusion and responsible people in newspapers should have taken notice."

Prime Minister Jamali dismissed misgivings expressed by the MMA leadership about President Pervez Musharraf's shedding of army uniform by Dec 31 and said that it was all in their minds.

Referring to the prospective expansion in federal cabinet, Prime Minister Jamali said he had discussed the list of probable candidates with the PML president, Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, and as soon as the list was finalized, new ministers would be inducted. He said that previously, the idea was to induct fresh batch of ministers after the budget, but a final decision in this regard would be taken later.

Referring to the boycott of NSC meeting by the leader of the opposition and the chief minister of the NWFP, he said: "They have done no good for democracy by abstaining from the council (NSC) which had come into being as an act of parliament."

When questioned about the possibility of a reshuffle in his cabinet, Mr Jamali said: "Yes, portfolios of some ministers could be changed".

Asked to comment as to who was behind the efforts for destabilising his government, the prime minister said that he had no knowledge about it but "I can (only) pray to Allah to show conspirators the right path".

He said that the so-called analysts were concocting such reports on their own in the absence of any concrete information, adding: "I am surprised at people who have been time and again reminded about things were not taking notice of such happenings.

When asked as to why did he not use agencies to gather information about elements who were responsible for forwarding destabilizing theories, he said: "These officials are supposed to perform official duty. I can't deploy them to do my personal duty."

He said that whatever confusion was visible, had been created by media reports and there was "nothing on the ground".

When his attention was diverted towards reports published in an Urdu newspaper suggesting that he (the prime minister) had tendered his resignation and that it would take effect from June 29, Mr Jamali said: "The said newspaper seems to have more knowledge than me."

He said that those, who were creating confusion, were in the habit of playing 'one-day cricket' while politics was a long-term game and a serious business, adding: "We prefer playing five-day matches." He attributed the continuing crisis-like situation to what he preferred to call generation gap.

Referring to the ban on MMA leaders' entry in Sindh, he said that the problem pertained to the law and order situation of that province, adding that provinces were free to take whatever actions they deemed necessary in the interest of peace.

He said everything seemed to be good when it was done within the ambit of law.