ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said Pakistan as a sovereign nation would make decisions which served its interests, as he asked the United States not to interfere in the country’s internal matters.

He said Pakistan would benefit through trade with Iran, adding that an agreement was expected with Tehran for 1000MW of electricity supply to cater the energy needs in the country.

Gilani was answering questions on the US pressure regarding Pak-Iran ties in a live programme on Waqt News and Prime Minister Online programme of the state-run PTV.

The prime minister said the resolution tabled in the US Congress was inconsequential, as it did not represented Washington’s policy.

He asked the US to restrain from meddling in Pakistan, saying such attitude generated anti-Americanism in the country.

The Pak-US relations had witnessed many ups and downs, but Pakistan wanted to ensure ties based on mutual respect, as both the countries had shared objectives in the war against terror, Gilani noted.

The prime minister rejected the impression that the democracy was threatened and said matters pertaining to security situation were discussed during the Wednesday’s meeting with the army chief, adding the undemocratic elements would only be disappointed.

However, he refused to answer a question about the possible extension in the tenure of ISI chief Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, saying, “No comments.”

He recalled his early statement in which he had said that everything would be cleared in the spring.

Talking about the 20th Amendment, Gilani said it had made the free and transparent elections a reality. Now, the prime minster would not be imprisoned, sent abroad or killed because of the transfer of power under the constitution, remarked Gilani and said he would announce the next polls after taking the allies into confidence.

Replying to a query about Pak-India relations, Gilani made it clear that Pakistan’s principled stance on Kashmir would never be changed and talks were underway to resolve the multiple issues between the two neighbours.

“We want good relations with India, China, Iran Afghanistan and other neighbouring countries, as improved ties will ensure progress in the region. A country, which does not enjoy normal relations with neighbours, can never develop,” he remarked.

On the Balochistan issue, the prime minister said it was Nawaz Sharif who had first suggested an All Parties Conference (APC), but when he talked about it, the PML-N leader termed it a futile exercise and presented some conditions.

“APC is not my problem. It is a national issue. I will decide whether to call it or not after the consulting all the stakeholders,” he said, adding that the Baloch people were patriotic and the government would accept all their demands in the space provided by the constitution.

Gilani also talked about the energy crisis and rising petroleum prices. He said Pakistan could not remain immune to the trend in the international market, adding that the federal government was giving a subsidy worth Rs 8 billion and the provinces should also to contribute in subsidising the prices.

“I want to organise an energy conference in Lahore so as to include the provincial government in the process, because the provinces have also be authorised to produce electricity,” he added.

But he declined giving a deadline about ending the power outages, saying he would not do so, as all the promises had always been joked.

Gilani reiterated that the next budget would be tax free and said the finance advisor had been directed to create job opportunities for 0.15 million people, while the health insurance project would soon be launched from Faisalabad.

The government aimed at improving the infrastructure without which distribution of laptops was useless, he remarked with obvious reference to the Punjab government.

On the memogate, he said Mansoor Ijaz did not enjoy good reputation; therefore, his claims had no importance.

The prime minister said he respected judiciary and would appear in person before the court, whenever asked to do so.

Gilani rejected the possibility of curbing media freedom and said he in his first speech after assuming the office had announced repealing the black laws concerning media.