ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday said Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would attend a meeting to discuss the missing persons issue today (Tuesday).

During an interview with a private TV channel, Prime Minister Gilani admitted that the number of missing persons was once again on the rise.

The meeting would also be attended by the federal and provincial representatives along with the heads of law enforcement agencies, he added.

During the last hearing of the missing persons case, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had remarked the constitution would execute the job if Prime Minister Gilani failed to act and all options, including emergency, could be explored.

When asked about the loadshedding and Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif’s participation in the protests, Gilani replied that someone should ask Sharif who had stopped provinces from generating electricity. “It has never happened before that a provincial government takes part in protests against the federal government,” he asserted.

Gilani also spoke of the dual nationality issue, stating that the dual nationals had the right to become members of Parliament and there was no restriction on this in the constitution. What would be people’s response if the UK government acted against Lord Nazir Ahmed in a similar manner, he posed a question.

Mentioning that over 300 councillors, mayors and members of House of Commons and House of Lords in Britain were Pakistanis, he said the expatriates should not be deprived of the right to vote and become members of the parliament.

On Dr Shakil Afridi, Gilani said the Pakistani physician sentenced to 33 years for treason had a right to defend himself and should be granted access to higher courts.

To a question about expensive shopping by him, he responded that those reports were the biggest joke of the year. Media reports had said Gilani and his family spent millions of pounds during shopping in London.

He reportedly purchased three coats worth Rs8 million (54,000 pounds) and his family also spent millions of pounds on jewellery, shoes and watches.

Prime Minister Gilani said federal government had added more than 3500 megawatt electricity to the national grid and was working on long, medium and short term projects to resolve the energy crisis.

He said the government initiated the Diamer Bhasha Dam project, Mangla Dam upraising project, CASA 1000, electricity imports from Iran and India and the Thar Coal project to increase energy resources.

He said there will be no unscheduled loadshedding in the country from now on.