ISLAMABAD/LARKANA – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that a request shouldn’t be confused with an entreaty as he never begged army chief and ISI DG to get their terms extended.

However, it was on his request that COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI DG Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha were given extension, and that he did ask Gen Kayani to stay put as ‘war on terror’ was going on, Gilani told the newsmen after chairing a meeting of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC). The army chiefs are not changed in the middle of war, the PM said, adding: “I am happy with him (Gen Kayani).”

Earlier, while speaking to media representatives after attending a wedding ceremony at a local hotel, the prime minister said that yesterday’s (Monday) press conference, wherein he rebuffed reports that the government was planning to sack the army chief and ISI DG, was aimed at eradicating speculations and misunderstandings regarding army-government relations.

To a question on whether a conspiracy was being hatched against the government, he said certain elements from time to time had been trying to create differences between the judiciary and the government, and also between the president and the prime minister, but in vain. The prime minister dispelled the impression that PPP was not extending respect to the institutions and denied having said that they did not respect the institutions, including the apex court. The prime minister further said that Babar Awan will himself clarify questions raised by the Supreme Court regarding his press conference.

Gilani said that he did not make a mistake by sending the memogate issue to Parliamentary Committee on National Security for the investigation and asserted that all institutes, including ISI were working under the government’s ambit. He avoided commenting on Gen Pasha’s visit to London, where he met Pakistani American Mansoor Ejaz, by simply saying that he won’t comment on it as the matter was sub judice. But he said the ISI DG was on a trip to Doha with his permission this time.

Gilani said that parliament would take decision about the fate and future of country’s engagements with Nato/Isaf and the United States and said that incumbent government was taking all decisions in consultation with coalition partners. To another question he said that the whole nation was behind them in their decision to block the Nato supplies and to get the Shamsi Airbase vacated and quickly added that even these decision had the endorsement of Defence Committee of the Cabinet, which was immediately called after the Nato attacks on Pakistani checkposts in Mohmand.

Earlier, during his trip to Sindh on Tuesday, PM Gilani said that investigations into the killing of Benazir Bhutto had been completed and the People’s Party’s central executive committee would decide whether to disclose some portions of the inquiry.

He was talking to media after offering fateha at Benazir’s mausoleum in Naudero. He said the PPP was a visionary party and pursuing the politics of reconciliation in accordance with the BB’s vision. Gilani said the Constitution was given by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and eventually it was restored by his own party, the PPP.

Commenting over the PTI’s popularity he said that people with no vision were uniting under the umbrella of ‘king’s party’.

Replying to a query, the PM said there would be no confrontation among state institutions if they worked within the ambit of the Constitution.

He said a conspiracy had been hatched to pit government against judiciary.

Gilani said parliament was supreme and would take decisions on all issues of national importance. He said the supremacy of the parliament would be ensured, adding that it was in party’s best interest that weak workers had left the party before the elections otherwise they could have hurt the party at the time of the elections.

Gilani said the PPP was the name of an ‘ideology’. He termed those who were joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as ‘a bunch of opportunists’. He said the workers of PPP were committed and brave-hearted. True party workers were determined and those who left the party were selfish, he said.

To a question whether any conspiracy was being hatched against the government, the prime minister said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was not an ordinary party and was strong enough to confront any conspiracy. He said certain elements had been trying to create differences between judiciary and the government and also between the president and the prime minister, but it was a futile exercise.

He said the government’s attention was diverted many a times from serving the masses, however it remained committed to ameliorate the lot of the common man.

Gilani termed Benazir’s death not only a national but an international tragedy.

On a question about investigation into Benazir’s murder, the premier said the investigation was almost complete but he was not in a position to comment on it as the matter was subjudice. He said if needed, interior minister would divulge some details at the party’s CEC meeting.

Gilani said the government was pursuing the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and the 80 per cent work on the Charter of Democracy had been completed.

Reacting to a question regarding the Memogate scandal case, PM Gilani said, “I am the premier and not a judge. The court will uncover the matter.” He said govt did not want to interfere in memo case probe.

“We are working to bring all the institutions under the Constitution, as deviation from the Constitution will lead to clash,” the premier said noting the government did not want to enter any battle.