Prime Minister’s opening Statement at Council of Common Interests

Islamabad: In his opening statement at the Council of Common Interests meeting held at the Prime Minister Secretariat today, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said, “At the very outset, I would welcome all the members of the Council of Common Interests and thank them for attending the meeting during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Let me share with you some themes of my political perspective. I am a great believer in politics of consensus and reconciliation. Actually these are the attributes constituting the essence of democracy. It is, however, a path having pitfalls and obstacles. Achieving consensus requires sacrifice, understanding, patience and commonality of purpose.

The political leadership must be equipped with these qualities of mind and heart. This approach to politics has only one basis and that is constitutionalism. The remedies for relief and mechanisms of dispute resolution are all embedded in our constitution. Council of Common Interests is one prominent example. You will be happy to note this is the 7th time we are meeting at this forum after the passage of 18th amendment.

I may here, therefore, reaffirm the importance of this august forum of the Council of Common Interests which involves the Provincial Governments in formulation and regulation of policies particularly in relation to matters appearing in Part-II of the Federal Legislative List, which include important subjects like Electricity, Railways, Mineral, Oil and Gas, Regulatory Authorities, supervision and management of public debt and also help in resolving inter-provincial matters through formal as well as informal dialogue.

In today’s meeting, we are going to discuss important subjects including Distribution of Zakat, Public Debt Management and supervision Policy and imposition of a new levy/cess. We shall also have the opportunity to be briefed about the 6th Housing Census. Privatization of power sector entities will also come in focus in the agenda.

I believe it is our collective responsibility to ensure implementation of the decisions taken by this August House in letter and spirit.

The Government is striving to strengthen democracy, which is evident from 7th National Finance Commission Award, unanimous passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment and devolution of 17 Federal Ministries in consequence thereof. This is a major structural change in the governance since Independence, and shall strengthen federalism by assigning constitutional role and responsibilities to the Provinces.

While we are all engaged in efforts to strengthen democracy, anti-democratic forces, and anti-state elements are also busy in creating situations that are detrimental to economic growth and stability. We need to raise our guard against these disruptive forces so as to move forward unimpeded.

Karachi is now our biggest challenge. I take this opportunity, in the presence of all the four Chief Ministers, to urge the nation to support Government of Sindh’s operation. It is a provincial initiative which will have full backing of the Federal Government. Solution of Karachi lies within rule of law.

With this I conclude and request for start of formal proceedings of the CCI meeting”.

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