MULTAN - Former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the demands regarding removal of President Asif Ali Zardari and all four Governors before elections are irresponsible, suggesting to the PML-N and PTI to hold meaningful talks with the government on holding of free and fair elections.

Talking to the journalists here at Multan Airport on Tuesday, he said that the PML-N not only denied rights to the residents of South Punjab but also opposed new province. He added that the PPP was determined to create new province before general elections. He said that Mian Shahbaz Sharif claimed that the key to dissolve assembly was in his pocket but he must keep in mind that the pockets of politicians were always picked. "He should join us and move forward. The politicians held such keys in the past but every time someone else formed the government," he cited examples. Answering another question, he said that the motive behind bringing 20th amendment was to strengthen election commission while the PML-N sought to earn cheap popularity in the name of strengthening election commission.

He said that creating new provinces was no more a joke as parliamentary commission worked on this serious topic for three months during which all stakeholders including civil society, journalists, public representatives and all others were consulted.

Responding a question on new provinces, he said that the residents of Bahawalpur would get more than their expectations as the name of province would be Bahawalpur while the capital would also be in Bahawalpur. To a query on talks with Taliban, he said that it was a very serious subject and he would comment on it only after any initiative was taken at government level. 

To a query, he said that when he was disqualified the situation was different while now the scenario had changed.  "I had said then that the president enjoys immunity under Pakistan's constitution and Vienna Convention. When the letter was written, both the things were mentioned in it which confirms my stance," he added. He said that the PPP believed in democracy and its leadership sacrificed lives for the protection of rights of masses. He said that the PPP wanted transfer of power peacefully.

About Kashmir issue, he said that the PPP supported Kashmiris as the foundation of this party was laid on the basis of Kashmir cause. "How can we betray Kashmiris?" he posed a question.

Answering a question on MFN status to India, he said that it only meant that there should be a balance in trade with India. He said that China did trade worth $70 million despite all out differences with India while the volume of trade on both sides of Line of Control stood at just $17 million. He said that it was for the first time that the prime ministers of both the countries stood on the same rostrum and expressed their determination to settle all core issues including Siachin and Kashmir. 

FAKE DRUGS FACTORY SEALED: The police raided a factory manufacturing substandard medicines and arrested nine accused besides seizing huge quantity of drugs on early Tuesday morning.

According to details, the police on a tip off conducted raid at a fake drugs factory located in Multan city and recovered huge cache of substandard drugs.

Nine employees of the factory were also arrested by the police.

The samples of medicines have been sent to laboratory for test and investigations have been kick started.