ISLAMABAD, Dec 24: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday welcomed a statement by Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that military had no plans to take over and expressed the hope that it would help improve the situation.

“Clarification by the army chief is extremely well taken in democratic circles, and it will certainly improve the situation,” Mr Gilani said while talking to reporters after a function held in connection with Christmas celebrations.

In reply to a question, he said rumour-mongering would come to an end by March. It may be pertinent to mention that elections to the Senate are scheduled for March, 2012.

The prime minister said the democratic government and army had been on the same page during the past four years and worked shoulder to shoulder on all issues, including drone attacks.

He blamed the media for making the situation ‘complicated’ on the basis of his statement.

Answering a question about the possibility of the reopening of Nato supply routes, he said such a decision would only be made in the light of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

Mr Gilani said things were in favour of the democratic process as the judiciary and army had stated that they wanted democracy in the country and the Punjab Assembly had also passed a resolution in favour of democracy.

Opposition Pakistan Muslim League is in power in Punjab.

In reply to a question, he said there was no immediate plan to change the defence secretary, though he had been issued a show-cause notice for submitting with the Supreme Court a reply of the ministry without seeking prior approval from the prime minister.

“The government does not intend to condemn anybody unheard,” he said.

Earlier, addressing a congregation of the Christian community at the Fatima Jinnah Church, Mr Gilani said the government had taken landmark decisions for minorities.

The government reserved a five per cent quota in government jobs and seats for minorities in the Senate and declared Aug 11 as ‘Minority Day’.


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