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PM says polls after two years, calls for reconciliation

* Gilani says India is interfering in Balochistan

* Raymond Davis issue would not affect country’s relations with US

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday ruled out the possibility of mid-term elections, saying that the government will seek a new public mandate after two years.

In interviews to various private TV channels, PM Gilani said that those who were “shouting for mid-term polls boycotted the elections in 2008”. Elections would be held on the scheduled time, as the country at present was not in the condition to prepare for polls, he said.

If the provinces could not hold the local bodies election how can they hold voting for the National Assembly, he added.

The PM underlined the need for politics of reconciliation, harmony and tolerance, saying that politics of confrontation should be shunned. “The political parties need to show political wisdom and sagacity,” he reiterated.

Commenting on reports of a deadline by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Gilani said that in politics there were no ultimatums and the government accepted the PML-N’s offer of dialogue with sincerity.

More time is needed for implementing the 10-point agenda presented by the PML-N and the government is in contact with the political party, he added.

The PM said the country’s economic challenges would be faced with the cooperation of all political parties. “The national agenda is not of two parties and the Awami National Party (ANP) and other allies have also demanded that all political forces should be taken into confidence on the package,” he added.

Gilani said the economic team of the government had held consultations on the national agenda for 200 hours, adding, “We will continue to work on economic reforms and it is a continuous process.” To a question, he said he did not support “making forward blocs and the politics of the 80s and 90s should be avoided. “On various occasions in the past, the government refused to make moves to create forward blocs in the National Assembly, as it is better to sit in the opposition,” said Gilani.

The prime minister highlighted issues and challenges facing the country and steps being taken by the government to resolve them. Discussing the situation in Balochistan, he said all alienated Balochs were invited to talks “as they live in their own province and country and they should come back and play their role at the national level”. Gilani that India was interfering in Balochistan and he had raised the issue with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He said Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan package was “merely a beginning” and more steps were being taken as utilising Balochistan’s natural resources would not only benefit the people of the province but of the whole country. Gilani said that measures were being taken to make Gwadar Port operational as the facility was of great significance.

Cooperation of Gulf countries had also been sought in the matter connection and Gwadar was in the process of being connected with the rest of the country through Rato Dero, he added.

He opposed the drone attacks in the country, saying the incursions were counterproductive and violated the sovereignty of the country. “The government will not allow any drone attack in Quetta,” he stated. On the Raymond Davis issue, Gilani said the issue would not affect the country’s relations with the US. He said the matter was in the courts and they would decide about the American’s immunity.

The prime minister said the army was not interfering in the country’s politics, adding that the government had good relations with the judiciary

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