LAHORE – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said that it seems as if it was some viceroy, not Mansoor Ijaz, coming to Pakistan, making it clear that government would not spend billions on his security.

“Mansoor cannot be provided security and protocol of head of a state”, he asserted while talking to reporters after visiting late Arifa Karim’s residence, the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional of the world. The prime minister, who was accompanied by his family, also announced the highest civil award for the deceases IT genius.

Talking about Mr Ijaz’s security, Gilani said that according to the rules and the constitution, it was duty of the interior ministry to provide him security on arrival in Pakistan and he could not be provided the security and protocol as demanded by him. He however said if the need be, the ministry can call in army or rangers for assistance.

To a question, he said that though his government did not feel any threat from the memo controversy, but it was dangerous for country’s image abroad. To another question, he said he referred the memo issue to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security after developing consensus as a result of consultation with all the stakeholders including the president, the army chief and ISI director general. Nawaz Sharif took the matter to the Supreme Court after that, he added.

Gilani insisted that Mansoor Ijaz should also appear before the parliamentary committee as the government was committed to assist both the judicial commission and the committee. “I have to assist the both and it should be in all fairness that he (Ijaz) should appear before the judicial commission as well as the parliamentary committee,” Gilani maintained.

Prime Minister complained that the matter of security and protocol for Mansoor Ijaz was being highlighted in a way as if a “viceroy” was coming to Pakistan. “Mansoor Ijaz is a person, who has always been speaking against Pakistan, its establishment and the governments”, he remarked, adding that Mansoor Ijaz had no credibility.

Responding to a question about Husain Haqqani, the PM said Haqqani was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and should be considered innocent until any charge was proved against him. About the contempt notice issued to him by the Supreme Court, he said, “The matter is sub-judice. Let the court decide on it.” The PM also seemed avoiding giving clear answers on the memogate scandal, saying the matter was in the court, therefore, he would say nothing in this regard.

To another question, the PM said Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan was his lawyer and he had put forward no demands regarding formation of the cabinet, which, he added, was government’s prerogative. He also said that the matter had nothing to do with Mr Babar Awan.

About the foreign policy, Gilani said Pakistan wanted to have good relations with all countries, including its neighbours. He said that recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security with regard of re-engagement with the United States would be presented before the parliament for debate. He added that the government had halted the Nato supply in its national interest.

To a question regarding early elections, the prime minister said it was the job of opposition to embarrass the government, whereas that of government’s was to show magnanimity. The prime minister took pride that there was no political prisoner in the country and the PPP-led coalition was running the government without any support or crutches.