LAHORE - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday said he was not afraid of anybody; as, had he been so, he would not have entered politics.
‘I have already experienced the rigours of imprisonment because of politics, and now nothing can scare me’, he said while talking to the media after addressing the 75th convocation of Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore. The Prime Minister was asked if he was mentally prepared to go to jail for not writing letter to the Swiss authorities. He said he was a politician by choice and hence had no fears at all.
‘If you are in the coal business, your hands get black’, he further remarked, adding, that if he was scared, he would not have joined politics. He was perhaps trying to convey that when one is in politics he cannot escape allegations.
Gilani said he was a politician and ups and downs do come in politics. However, he added, fear factor was not part of politics. On contempt proceedings against him, Gilani refused to comment, saying the matter was subjudice. Gilani boasted that his government had given more freedom to media compared to previous governments.
‘I will give even more freedom to the media’, he added. The PM believed that media criticism washed off ‘government’s sins’ besides taking it to further heights.
Gilani said his was the only democratically elected government to have completed four years. He said PPP had completed four years in government after crossing ‘river of fire’. ‘On March 17th, a Constitutional requirement will be fulfilled which has never been fulfilled before. For the first time in history, President Asif Ali Zardari will be addressing the joint session of the Parliament for the fifth time giving policy statement in his address’, he observed.
Earlier, while addressing the convocation, Gilani said that if the next year will be centennial year for Kinnaird College, it would also be a very important year for Pakistan as well.
The year 2013 is very significant for the country for many reasons, he said. ‘The Constitutional term of President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, COAS and the National Assembly will come to an end in the coming year’, he stated. Gilani also announced Rs 60 million grant for Kinnaird College.
He said government would provide relief to the masses in the upcoming budget, announcing that he had passed instructions to Ministry of Finance to create 100,000 jobs so that educated youth could get employment. The Ministry for Information Technology (IT), he added, was under the Prime Minister and he had also given several IT programmes for the people.
He expressed his optimism that his government would complete its five-year term next year and that PPP was the only party which had achieved this milestone. Gilani said that believed in emancipation of women and creating equal opportunities for them. He said his government had given several important offices to women.
‘My government has the credit of appointing first woman Foreign Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly’, he told the audience.
Gilani said that empowerment of women and minorities was a key to realising the cherished goal of a tolerant‚ moderate and progressive Pakistan. He said empowerment of a woman was not merely empowerment of an individual. Rather‚ it is empowerment of a family and indeed a society at large, he said, adding, this was the first government in Pakistan‘s history‚ which had a remarkable representation of the women working at various tiers of the government.
The PM made a special mention of Arfa Karim, Malala Khan and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy as iconic figures during his address to the students.
The Prime Minister announced Rs 20m for construction of IT Block‚ Rs 10 million as research grant‚ Rs 10 million for Endowment Fund and Rs 10 million for purchase of vehicles for the college.