ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has stated that NROs had been the order of the day in the past, which were dubbed at that time as plea bargains.

While addressing the PPP members of National and Provincial Assemblies, office-holders of PPP, PSF and PYO from Sargodha Division at the Prime Minister’s House on Tuesday, Prime Minister said that National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was in the thick of discussions at the moment but it was not a new thing and in the past it was being dubbed as plea bargains.

He said that going abroad under a deal was also NRO.

‘In essence, there is no difference between both except that, we are victimised while others are rewarded’, he added.

The Prime Minister said that regretfully all dictators were portrayed as innocent, while all politicians are considered corrupt.

He said: ‘we recently approved introduction of a clause in current law under which it would be incumbent upon the government employees that they declare their assets as public document’.

‘Media has reported Musharraf’s assets worth billions of rupees but no action would be taken against him on this’, he added.

Prime Minister said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had brought about the real revolution and even the towering politicians of the times could not stand in the way of people’s empowerment.  Gilani said that PPP was the name of an ideology and constant struggle irrespective of whether it stayed in or out of power.

 He said that we came into power because of people, while others stepped into corridors of power through other means.  We play politics of principles whereas others change their principles for sake of power, he added.

Gilani said that it had been tradition of PPP workers that they neither submitted themselves to coercion nor gave into dictatorship.

‘We faced the rigours of imprisonment. Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto bore the rigours of imprisonment and also laid down their lives but their ideologies could not be eliminated’, he said. ‘I was also jailed but did not deviate from the ideology of PPP’, the Prime Minister added.

He said that those who come and leave the party are opportunists.

The workers of PPP are loyal to their ideology, he added.

‘I appeal to all intellectuals to regard PPP and its leaders as assets and protect them, he stated.

Gilani said that the members of PPP could have differences among themselves but have no differences over the ideology of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, which is a manifestation of PPP’s strength and longevity.

The Prime Minister said that it is not easy to struggle and do politics in this country.

He revealed that ‘angels’ would come to him in jail and invite him and members of the PPP to join the fold of the then Musharraf regime.

He said that these ‘angels’ promised power in return for trading conscience but we never considered any back-door entry into power nor did we commit disloyalty. He said that we believed that only the people were the source of all powers.  The Prime Minister said that he had 124 MNAs in an Assembly of 342, which were 50 votes short of the simple majority. Despite this, he was the longest serving elected Prime Minister of the country by the grace of Allah Almighty, he added.

He said that this Assembly unanimously restored the Constitution of 1973, which an Assembly having 2/3rd majority could not do.

This government, he said, considerably increased the resources of the federating units through NFC and gave identity to Khyber Pakhtankhawa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilani said that the PPP candidates or their allies won most of the by-elections in the country. PPP enjoys clear majority in AJK Assembly, he added.  The Prime Minister said that while others sought to get into power with the help of props, PPP got power solely on the strength of people’s support in 70s, 80s, 90s and 2008.  He further said that the democratic government implemented the party manifesto and we could claim that we implemented 80 per cent of Charter of Democracy as well.

He said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the father of the country’s nuclear programme.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto gave us missile technology and the PPP would overcome the power and gas crisis in the country, Gilani said. The Prime Minister directed Ms Farzana Raja, Chairperson of Benazir Income Support Programme, to visit Sargodha Division on priority basis and address the problems of people there.

The Prime Minister promised that he would elevate the status of hospital of Sargodha to that of a teaching hospital. He said that sincere party leaders would be accommodated in the upcoming Senate elections. He also directed WAPDA to end unscheduled loadshedding.

He further said that IT centres would be established at the level of each Union Council in Sargodha Division, paving the way for creation of job opportunities for the people of the Division.

The Prime Minister also directed the Ministry of Professional and Technical Training to make arrangements for professional training under NAVTEC in Sargodha Division.  Earlier, speaking on the occasion the party leaders said that the recent statements given by the Prime Minister have breathed a new soul into the workers and office-holders, which would further strengthen the party.  They reiterated their resolve that they would not hesitate to offer any sacrifice to accomplish the mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto.

Welcoming the Prime Minister’s announcement to give distinguished position to the party workers, they said that they would give a red carpet welcome to the Prime Minister upon his arrival in Sargodha on January 21st where he would address a historic public gathering.