KARACHI, April 18: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Saturday that Pakistan would coordinate with the United States its policy to combat terrorism during talks in Washington next month.
The prime minister told a press conference here, after chairing a meeting of the Sindh cabinet, that it was wrong to think that Pakistan did not have a policy on the war on terror. “Our policy is ready and President Asif Ali Zardari, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the ISI chief will share it with the US administration.”
In reply to a question about the acrimony between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party following the Swat accord, the prime minister said the two parties had different agenda, but it was his government’s endeavour to defuse the tension.
He said the Swat deal was linked to restoration of peace in the valley. “The agreement will remain intact if peace endures,” he said, adding that the president had signed the Nizam-i-Adl regulation only after 80 per cent peace was restored to Swat.
He said the new accord was an improved version of the agreements signed in 1994 and 1999.
He said the government’s reconciliation efforts would strengthen the country’s economy and its institutions and urged political forces to show maturity because the people had voted for a change.
Mr Gilani said Pakistan wanted good relations with neighbouring countries, including Iran, Afghanistan and India.
However, he admitted that the composite dialogue with India had been affected after the Mumbai attacks, but added that efforts were being made to revive the dialogue.
In reply to a question about Sindh government’s demand for announcing the NFC Award before the budget and resolving the issue of GST, Prime Minister Gilani said he would discuss the matter with his Finance Adviser Shaukat Tarin.
The Sindh government has said that GST is provincial matter and it should be distributed on the basis of collection or else the provincial governments should be allowed to collect the tax at their own level. It also sough reimbursement of Rs11.374 billion accumulated since 2000 and resolution of the GST issue on services (Central Excise Mode).
The Sindh Sales Tax Ordinance 2000 empowers the federal government to collect the GST on services on behalf of the province. However, proceeds of the tax are being transferred on the basis of population, resulting in transfer of proceeds collected from one province to another.
According to sources, the ordinance did not empower the federal government to transfer proceeds collected from Sindh to other provinces.
Earlier speaking at the Sindh cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Gilani said the federal government would support infrastructure and social sector development projects in Sindh.
Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, federal Food Minister Nazar Mohammad Gondal, provincial ministers, advisers and special assistance to the chief minister attended the meeting.
According to sources, the prime minister said his government was working to restore the 1973 Constitution and implement the Charter of Democracy singed by the PPP and the PML-N.
He said the country’s economy was showing a positive trend because of measures taken by the government.
About the unannounced loadshedding by the KESC, he said the issue would be resolved soon and the people of Karachi would get rid of the loadshedding with the help of better management and improved efficiency.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction over the law and order situation in Sindh.
The chief minister briefed the prime minister about law and order, development schemes and other matters.