Pakistan not Tunisia or Egypt: Gilani
* PM says institutions in country are working and democracy is functional
* Govt moving forward with reconciliation process
* National economy under pressure, but not in crisis
* Strong institutions can at least reduce corruption if not eliminate it
MULTAN: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday that the situation in Egypt and Tunisia cannot be compared with that of Pakistan as “our institutions are working and democracy is functional”.
The prime minister made this remark while responding to a question about a recent statement of United States Vice President Joe Biden.
The government had been confidently moving forward with reconciliation process, Gilani told reporters after inspecting the work on new terminal of Multan airport.
“Pakistan’s economy is under pressure, not in crisis,” he said and counted terrorism, extremism, global recession, floods and energy shortage as the factors responsible for it.
“Our foreign exchange reserves are at an unprecedented high level of $17 billion. The stock exchange index that was oscillating between 5,000 to 6,500 points when we took over is now touching 12,500 points. Our exports have reached $11 billion and may double by the end of this fiscal year, and foreign remittances are over $10 billion,” the prime minister said while talking of his government’s achievements.
Gilani said that the government was committed to strengthening institutions, adding that strong institutions could at least reduce corruption if not eliminate it. He held that with an effective Public Accounts Committee (PAC), free judiciary and media, corruption could be checked and informed the reporters that negotiations for framing a new accountability law, in this regard, were underway.
The prime minister maintained that it was the dividend of democracy that ministers were being questioned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which was not possible during the dictatorial regimes.
Speaking about the concerns of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Gilani said that the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had been pursuing a policy of reconciliation and if PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif had any reservation “we will discuss it with the opposition team and address it”. He added that this was the first government that consulted all the political forces on all major issues and did not resort to victimisation.
When asked, the prime minister declined to comment on the arrest of a US citizen, Raymond Davis, who shot dead two youth in Lahore, saying the matter was being probed by courts and regional authorities.
“The federal government is not silent. This matter is in the court,” Gilani said, adding that the Punjab government had been conducting an inquiry and “I would not comment until it is completed”. Earlier, during a briefing on the new terminal building of Multan airport, Gilani was briefed that it would cost Rs 3.17 billion and would be completed by July 26, 2012. app