Pakistani PM hints at early elections

February 20th, 2012 - 12:11 am ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Feb 19 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Sunday hinted at the possibility of holding early parliamentary elections.

The parliamentary elections are scheduled in early 2013.

The prime minister said the issue of early elections will be discussed after next month’s Senate elections and the presentation of the annual budget in May, Xinhua reported.

Elections for 54 Senate seats will be held on March 2 and Gilani’s ruling Pakistan Peoples Party is set to get a simple majority in the 104-member upper house.

“I do not rule out the possibility of early elections,” Gilani told reporters in Sindh province when asked if he is considering snap polls.

Opposition parties are mounting pressure on the government to hold early elections as they claim the rulers have failed to solve the people’s problems.

A provincial minister in Sindh province said elections could be held in October.

Replying to a question about the situation in Afghanistan vis-a- vis talks with Taliban, Gilani said Pakistan is ready to facilitate an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

The prime minister also referred to the recent visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Pakistan and said the issue was also discussed with him and he was assured of Pakistan’s full support to the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Regarding the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India, Gilani said the issue was being misconstrued, as it is only meant to ensure “no-discrimination in trade” link with other 100 countries of the world.

He said the federal cabinet had allowed the ministry of commerce to negotiate with India’s ministry of commerce the issue of trade balance.

The prime minister further said that since the present government has come into power in 2008, the cross Line of Control (LoC) trade had been recorded at 15 billion rupees ($167 million).

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