Govt won’t be blackmailed by militants, says Gillani
* ‘Parliament will strip Musharraf of his power to dissolve govt’
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: The government will neither be “blackmailed” by militants nor will it listen to their “unrealistic” demands, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani has said.
“We won’t listen to their demands that are totally unrealistic. If they want us to hand over [jailed] terrorists as a [precondition] for talks, that will not happen,” Gillani said in an interview with Newsweek, published on its website on Monday.
Gillani said there would be no talks with militants “until our preconditions are met”.
“They should [put down] their arms first. Not only [Baitullah] Mehsud but also other [armed] tribes who are not militants,” he added.
He also ruled out any unilateral US military strikes into Pakistan, saying that they [the United States] have to have prior permission.
Power: The premier also hinted that parliament would strip President Pervez Musharraf of his power to dissolve the government and would soon restore the judges sacked by Musharraf last year.
“The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan is the only document that is acceptable to the people of Pakistan … amendments [which gave Musharraf extraordinary powers to dismiss the government] were made afterward. So we don’t accept these amendments. We believe in balance of power between the parliament and the president,” he said.
Gillani said the resolution to restore the sacked judges “maybe” tabled in parliament this week.
He said his priority would be to try to establish law and order in the country.
“My priority would be to control the law-and-order situation in the country, so we have to discourage this extremism and terrorism,” Gillani said.
He said Pakistan wanted a three-pronged strategy to combat terrorism – improving people’s well-being and giving them employment, overhauling the education system [without the] old madrassas, where the students are being groomed for the Taliban, and improving health and communication facilities.
Gillani said he was confident he could work with Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Kayani, whom he praised as a good, highly professional soldier.