ISLAMABAD  – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday said the government would soon convene an All Parties Conference (APC) to discuss and address the issues of Balochistan, particularly the law and order situation, through collective wisdom.

“There is a law and order situation in Balochistan, which has to be addressed. We are also talking with the coalition partners in this respect,” Gilani said in an interaction with senior journalists here at the Prime Minister House.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the present government’s initiative of ‘Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan’ to remove the sense of deprivation of the people of that province. He, however, said the law and order situation in Balochistan also overshadowed the initiative.

To a question, the Prime Minister termed the unanimous approval of the 20th Constitutional Amendment by the National Assembly as a historic milestone and said all political parties deserve the credit for it. He said the 20th Constitutional Amendment would ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country.

When asked as if the government would talk to the political parties outside the parliament on 20th Amendment, the Prime Minister said “We are ready to talk to everyone.”

To another question, the Prime Minister said the new budget for the fiscal year 2012-13, to be presented in May, would be pro-poor and record relief would be given to the common man.

The decision to present budget in the month of May was taken during last year’s budget debate, so that the Parliament could get enough time to debate the budget proposals before its passage from the National Assembly and Senate, he added.

To a question about the possibility of elections in 2012, Gilani said since article 58-2b was no more part of the Constitution, it is now the Prime Minister’s prerogative to call the elections.

“One cannot rule out early elections, but I cannot commit”, the Prime Minister said. He, however, added the decision in this respect would be taken in consultation with the coalition partners. To a question about Pak-Iran gas pipeline, the Prime Minister said, the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project was very much on the cards. Gilani said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was stopping him to tender his resignation from prime ministership. He said the ‘next steps’, including the decision for resigning from premiership, will be taken according to the law and the constitution.

The prime minister said that his party was forbidding him to tender his resignation (as he was indicted in a contempt of court case by the apex court on Feb 13).

He said the decision of not writing a letter to Swiss authorities, for reopening cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, was also taken by the party. The premier refrained from commenting on retirement of ISI DG Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha and refused to talk about the next intelligence chief as well.