Gilani says he enjoys all powers of chief executive

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday he had all powers of the chief executive of the country and President Asif Ali Zardari had already offered to surrender powers vested in him under Article 58(2)b of the Constitution.

However, he said he needed no powers to dissolve assemblies. In reply to question about his lack of powers to appoint services chiefs, he said in a lighter mood: ‘I would like to get them.’

The prime minister was addressing a news conference at the Dera Sports Stadium after visiting a distribution centre set up for the displaced people of South Waziristan.

Asked why he, as the chief executive, and the president, as the supreme commander, had not visited the frontline to boost morale of the armed forces, Mr Gilani said he visited wherever he was asked to, recalling his visit to Swat.

But he did not explain why President Zardari had so far not visited any of the areas cleared by the military.

The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the military operation in South Waziristan and said its objectives would be achieved ahead of schedule.

He said that a large number of underground bunkers and dens of Arab, Chechen and Tajik militants had been destroyed or captured by the army and terrorists were now on the run.

The prime minister, accompanied by NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani and federal ministers Qamar Zaman Kaira, Babar Awan, Rehman Malik and Farzana Raja, visited various sections of the distribution centre.

He also addressed a small gathering of Mehsud tribesmen and workers of his Pakistan People’s Party.

Terrorism stemmed from poverty and illiteracy and the government was working on health, education, job creation and other basic facilities in tribal areas, Mr Gilani added.

He said that an international trust fund for development in the NWFP, Fata and Balochistan had been set up. It would also help in early disbursement of funds for development and rehabilitation of Malakand and Swat.

He said that funds would also be provided for water and sewerage projects in D.I. Khan and Tank.

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