Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said that both Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan were not members of parliament which was why they could not understand its importance, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to media representatives in Islamabad, the premier categorically stated that National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza's ruling pertaining to the disqualification reference was final and could not be challenged.

On May 24, Mirza rejected the March 30, 2012 reference sent to her office by Moulvi Iqbal Haider requesting her to start disqualification proceedings against Prime Minister Gilani for being convicted by the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case. Mirza’s ruling was recently challenged by PML-N member Khwaja Asif and Imran Khan.

Gilani said he would not take the opposition's threats seriously, adding that it constituted of people "with nothing better to do than mislead the people".

The prime minister moreover said that the parliament could not be "held hostage" for a handful of people.

"The prime minister is not important, it is the parliament and the system that is important," Gilani told reporters.

Criticising the Punjab government, the prime minister said that the provincial government was not working for the welfare of the people and that the PML-N should be held accountable for its performance.

Regarding the upcoming general elections, Gilani said the PPP wanted free and fair elections in the country.