ISLAMABAD, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday advised opposition to act realistically as the government is determined to complete its constitutional term with the support of the people. Addressing parliamentarians of Pakistan People’s Party and allied parties here at Prime Minister House, the Prime Minister expressed resolve to continue serving people with patience despite baseless propaganda and rumour mongering by the opposition.
He said the government will not get agitated as patience and tolerance is its strength and opposition should not be mistaken that it can misguide people with tools like character assassination.
He said the government presented the best budget in the current circumstances.
He said no new tax was imposed, salaries were raised by 15 percent, pensions were increased by 20 percent, general sales tax was reduced by one percent, flood surcharge and special excise duty was abolished and custom duty was not increased.
While giving details of other relief measures taken by the government in the budget, he said the steps of the government will not only stabilize the economy but will provide maximum relief to the people.
He criticized the opposition for raising slogans and levelling baseless allegations during the budget speech saying the action of the opposition did not serve interest of the nation.
Prime Minister Gilani said the government inherited the problems of loadshedding, inflation and unemployment and now it has to use all available resources to overcome these issues.
He said the government was compelled to take tough decisions which were not politically popular among the public.
“But as we were sincere and our hands were clean the people accepted the decisions and when the bye-elections were held, they reposed their confidence in us.”
He said the government is determined to continue the war against terror with the unanimous support of the public representatives and people.
“For the secure and prosperous future of the coming generations, we are crossing the river of fire and blood,” he said adding the campaign against terror had deep impact on Pakistan and 30,000 of its citizens were martyred, 5,000 personnel of security forces were matryed and the economy had to endure losses of billions of dollars.
“No other country has given such a huge sacrifice,” he said adding Pakistan has a prominent role in ensuring global peace and security.
He said Pakistan did not have any aggressive and expansionist designs against any country but it has the full capability to respond to any threat to its independence, sovereignty and danger to its frontiers.
Gilani said the nuclear assets of Pakistan are in safe hands and nobody should have any misunderstanding and concern about them.
“The enemy can never cast a dirty eye or get access to our nuclear assets,” he asserted.
The Prime Minister said the nation’s concern over Abbottabad incident and Mehran base incident are legitimate. He assured that investigation will continue in these incidents but said the whole process will take time.
“Patience is needed to uncover hidden faces and hands and it will not be good for the nation if we acted with haste, impatience and emotions.”
He said Pakistan has made it clear on Washington that if incidents like Abbottabad operation were repeated, it will not be acceptable.
He said diplomatic efforts will continue to get stopped drone attacks.
The Prime Minister said Islam is a peaceful religion and it has nothing to do with terrorism and extremism.
Pakistan will not allow use of its soil for terrorism against any other country, he added.
Referring to the politics of reconciliation pursued by the government during the last three years, he said even the opposition accepts that the PPP government promoted consensus building on national issues.
Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said implementation of sales tax was the only condition of IMF when it decided to give aid of $ 11 billion to Pakistan.
He said provinces are collecting income tax on agriculture and most of the farmers with income of less than 350,000 per year are exempted from the tax.
Responding to queries of the members of the parliament, he said the government wanted to broaden the tax net and bring the wealthy into it while giving Rs. 65 billion of assistance to vulnerable sections of society in next financial year.
PML-Q President Ch. Shujaat Hussain said PPP and PML were sitting together for the first time in forty years due to the farsighted leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.
He said harmony and reconciliation was a welcome trend in the national politics.
Members of PPP, PML-Q, ANP, MQM and FATA attended the event.