Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza GIlani.—File Photo

LAHORE: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani challenged the opposition Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz on Friday, daring the Sharifs to bring a vote of no-confidence against him.

“The only way to unseat me democratically is through a vote of no-confidence ... the president can only be removed through impeachment. If you have the courage then go ahead and use the available option,” said the prime minister.

The PM was speaking to reporters in Lahore at a joint press conference with Pakistan Muslim league - Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who is a coalition partner of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Gilani was found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president, but received only a symbolic sentence of a few minutes’ detention in the courtroom.

The opposition PML-N has said they do not consider him the prime minister after his conviction by the SC, and threaten to hold a long march if he stays in office. Gilani, however, says that he will remain the prime minister as long as the parliament allows him to.

“I will not resign on somebody’s wishes ... I have complete support of the parliament,” said PM Gilani, Pakistan’s longest serving democratically elected prime minister.

“How can they protest against the government when they are in the government themselves? They would have to resign from their seats to protest,” he said.

“As for long marches, they are held against dictators. There is a democratic government in the country. There are no dictators and there will be no long marches.”

When asked a question regarding an appeal against the SC’s decision, Gilani said his legal team would decide about the issue.

“I have not committed a crime. I have only followed the constitution’s interpretation given to me,” he said.

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