Islamabad, May 12: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that neither party the PPP nor his government was having back-channel contacts with President Pervez Musharraf, and that it was working with Musharaf “according to the Constitution”.
He said that it depended on Musharraf’s sole wish to decide whether to step down or not.
The ruling PPP has not established back-channels contacts with Musharraf, he said and added that it would strive to ensure a “balance of power” between the Presidency and the Parliament.
Dismissing media reports that the PPP had initiated back-channel contacts with Musharraf for an arrangement whereby the President would be allowed to complete his term in exchange for giving up some of his powers, Gilani said he personally had no problems working with Musharraf if this was “according to the Constitution of Pakistan”.
Asked if he personally hoped Musharraf would step down, Gilani said: “I personally feel that I can only follow the Constitution. For leaving the post, it's his (Musharraf's) choice, not mine.”
To another question if he would give Musharraf advice in this regard, he said, "Musharraf will never ask for my advice. Advice is sought, not hawked."
Gilani said the fact that Musharraf put him into jail for five years had not made him a bitter person to take revenge and ensure that Musharraf is ousted.
“Actually, we both Nawaz Sharif and myself we have suffered a lot. Even (PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had been behind bars for eight years. I have been behind bars for five years. I'm not bitter at all. I have to follow the Constitution. Therefore, I am working with the President according to the Constitution of Pakistan,” The News quoted Gilani as saying, in reply to a question whether he could convince Sharif to work with the President. (ANI)