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Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani addressing a press conference at Multan Airport on Sunday. – Online Photo

MULTAN: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday rejected opposition's call for mid-term polls and said it was time for local government elections in the country.

Talking to media, the prime minister said, “Government has got passed its fourth budget and will request PML-N leadership to prepare for the next elections as the time for mid-term polls is over.”

He said the opposition was not giving a tough time to the government as the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) had the support of people.

The prime minister said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto had given the vision of politics of reconciliation, foreseeing that in future only coalition governments would be formed and that no single party would be in a position to take majority of seats in the parliament.

He said from day one, he believed in the politics of reconciliation, which brought about benefits as the government succeeded in unanimous passing of 18th and 19th constitutional amendments and approval of 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Prime Minister Gilani said he was pleased that the PML-N accepted their viewpoint regarding reconciliation politics by stating that it was ready to talk to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM.)

Answering a question, the PM clarified that the government did not allow use of any of Pakistan's airbases to the United States for drone attacks.

The previous government had allowed use of airbases for surveillance purposes only, he added.

He said the government had taken up the issue of incursions from Afghans inside Pakistan's territory and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the foreign secretary visited Kabul to discuss the issue.

The Pakistan government protested over border violations and took up the matter with the Afghan government at diplomatic level, he added, “Our understanding with the Afghan government has improved and we are making them realise the sensitivity of the situation.”

Gilani said the MQM remained an important ally of the PPP and it supported the government on all important national issues, including 18th and 19th Constitutional Amendments and NFC Award.

As member of the Implementation Commission on Constitutional Reforms, Dr Farooq Sattar worked with Senator Raza Rabbani and was present at the meeting in which the Commission gave a report to the Federal Cabinet, he added.

The Prime Minister said Multan would get all facilities being accorded to a big city.

He said all the political parties were united on the national issues.

He said the government had to face the most difficult challenges and the the restoration of the constitution was not an easy task. “The credit goes to PPP government that it restored the Constitution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to its original form”, he added.

He said in the past, the PPP never talked of Seraiki province but as more people were raising demand for the new province, therefore President Asif Ali Zardari formed a committee of the party to look into the issue.

The PM said billions of rupees were spent on electrification of villages which resulted in more demand, and thus power shortage in the country.

The government is working on short, medium and long term projects of three to ten years to meet energy demand, he said and added 2000 megawatts had been added to the national grid and 2000 megawatts more would be added to the system.

He said Thar Coal Project, Diamer Bhasha Dam, TAPI and joint gas and electricity projects with Iran were in pipeline to overcome energy shortage.

The people understand these are not mere promises as the government will have to go for elections, he added.