Former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani claimed on Monday that although former Army Chief Gen (r) Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani had said to him that he could not restore judiciary through an executive order, he went ahead and restored the judiciary.

Addressing members of the District Bar Multan here at the bar hall, he said that he wanted to dispel the impression that his government restored the judges on Gen Kiyani’s pressure. “Today I want to tell you that Gen Kiyani approached us and asked if we wanted to restore judges through executive order and we told him that yes we’re going to do so,” he added.

He said that the motive behind launching long march was to push the PPP’s government to a closed alley as Mian Nawaz Sharif and establishment believed that the judiciary could not be restored through executive order. He said that former president Asif Ali Zardari asked the members of the government to inform Gen Kiyani about the decision on which he was summoned and informed. “He talked on phone for about one hour and when he returned he asked us to announce the decision,” he revealed. He said that he decided not to restore Iftikhar Chaudhry for one day when the long march had stopped at Gujranwala because Justice Dogar was still in his office. “The day he (Justice Dogar) retired, I restored Iftikhar Chaudhry. Article 6 would have been imposed on me, if I had committed mistake like Musharraf of bringing one Chief Justice on the sitting one,” he added.

Gilani was of the opinion that he was punished for not obeying unlawful orders. “Not even a single politician has ever been punished in contempt of court. When I refused to obey unconstitutional order of writing letter against the sitting President, who enjoyed constitutional immunity, I was disqualified,” he maintained.

The former premier pointed out that over 8,000 people benefited from NRO but he was not amongst them. He added that party members got sentimental on his disqualification verdict but he advised them to stay calm and let the president select new Prime Minister. “I returned home and prevented institutions from clash,” he claimed. He said that he restored 1973 constitution to ensure supremacy of law.

He said that Imran Khan was surrounded by people who had betrayed their parties. He maintained that many people could not bear sitting in the opposition, therefore they quit their parties after gaining benefits and joined PTI. “No change can come in their presence or through them. Change can only come through masses as did Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,” he asserted.

Gilani claimed that no one except Zardari and him raised voice for Saraiki Province. “We constituted commission for Saraiki province, got approved resolutions from senate and Punjab Assembly but failed in national assembly because of unavailability of two-thirds majority,” he explained. He claimed that Saraiki Province would have been created much earlier, had PML-N given just one vote in favour of this issue. He said that Saraiki Province was not just his desire but the aspiration of hundreds of millions of people. “Now people have got wisdom. I anticipate today that the Saraiki Province will be created very soon,” he anticipated. He said that the PPP would support PML-N if it took a step to create province in light of its own resolution.

The former premier was of the opinion that all deprivations would vanish, if NFC share of South Punjab was given to this region. He added that the residents of South Punjab would pay tributes to the PML-N, if it accomplished all ongoing public welfare projects launched by his government instead of metro bus.

He said that he did not leave any stone unturned to get the masses their rights during his term as Prime Minister but he still felt that he should have done more. He said that he faced torture, went to jails and faced terrorism cases but continued to fight for the independence of judiciary. He claimed that he gave the media surprise by restoring judiciary.