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Cabinet re-sizing in consultation process: Gilani

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LAHORE: Prime Minister Syed Yuousaf Raza Gilani has said the re-sizing of federal cabinet is currently in consultation process. Talking to a nine-member journalists delegation here Sunday, he said the ministers’ performance is not the only criterion to re-size the federal cabinet, as other aspects including constitutional provisions, budgetary constraints as well as coalition partners’ share is also kept very much in view. He also made it clear that relieving of a minister doesn’t mean that his/her performance is not satisfactory.

To a question, he said that according to constitution, federal cabinet consists of 11 percent of the parliamentarians with five percent representation from the Senate, adding that they can resolve administrative and other matters in this regard at their own, however, they will move jointly on the legislative matters such as re-constitution of the Election Commission. All the coalition partners, he said, are being consulted and taken into confidence on cabinet issue.

To another question, the Prime Minister said that they do not believe in ‘deadline’ in the politics, saying: “We (the politicians) are friends and not the masters of each others, and our coalition partners can approach us for any matter of national interest.”

He added that they had accepted Nawaz Sharif’s 10-point agenda after reviewing it thoroughly, and nobody should doubt
on our sincerity to pull the country out of economic crises. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, he said, all the politician, while setting aside their party affiliation and patty differences, are united on all the matters of national importance including political stability, supremacy of the constitution and parliament, and strengthening of democracy.

About Raymond Davis, the Premier said that its a very sensitive issue, which should be resolved with maturity, adding, since the matter is sub judice so everybody should be careful about it, as Pakistanis are a responsible nation. While, the foreign countries are approaching Pakistan government in this regard through diplomatic and congressional channels, a proper way to settle down an issue amicably, he said, adding, we have advised them to contact the country’s court as today our courts are working with great freedom.

To a journalist’s query, Gilani said that Pakistan’s economy is now improving and this fact can be well judged from the facts that export ratio is doubled from that of last year; foreign reserves are all time high and now stands at $ 17.5 billion; stock exchange has jumped up from 5500 to 12500 points; the foreign remittances are almost doubled; food security of 75 percent country’s population living in rural areas has been ensured and the growers are getting prices of their agri produces according to international market. There was acute shortage of wheat-flour in the country, when PPP had come into power, but today Pakistan is exporting wheat despite the worst flood calamity that affected 20 million people and millions of acres fertile lands.

The Prime Minister, however, stressed the need for enlarging the tax base by discouraging the tendency of tax evading and non-declaring of assets by individuals. The tax evading tendency in Pakistan has concerned the international community, which argues that how they can provide their taxpayers money as assistance to Pakistan, while its own people do not pay the tax, he maintained.

To a query, he said that yes, there are some vested interests and their lobbies working against the promotion of tax culture in Pakistan, and we have been in dialogue with leadership of all the political parties including PML-N, PML-Q, MQM, ANP, JUI and of the FATA to find ways and means to effectively end economic crisis.

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