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Pak taking steps to import Indian gas: PM

Lahore: Pakistan now has the best-ever ties with India and is working on measures to import electricity and gas from the neighbouring country, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani said today, describing these steps as a "revolution".

"Our relations with India, Iran, China, Afghanistan and Russia are very good. We never had such good relations with them ever before," Gilani said while interacting with journalists at the State Guest House here. "Our trade agreement with India will benefit our economy. We are working on measures to import electricity and gas from India," he said.

Besides India, Pakistan is signing agreements for gas with Qatar and Iran. "It is a revolution, isn`t it?" he asked. Responding to a question about the outcome of strains between the government and the judiciary, Gilani ruled out the chances of martial law being imposed in Pakistan. "The era of martial law is over. There is no room for martial law," he said.

To a question about the alleged involvement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry`s son in improper dealings with real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, Gilani said neither his government nor the army would benefit from the scandal. Asked about the tycoon`s links with Rehman Malik, the advisor on interior affairs, Gilani said Hussain was the "friend of all politicians."

The apex court recently initiated suo motu proceedings against the Chief Justice`s son after TV channels highlighted allegations that he had been paid up to Rs 400 million to influence cases in court. The Chief Justice has recused himself from the bench hearing the case against his son. Gilani said the Chief Justice should now take up the allegations of corruption levelled against the Premier`s son Ali Musa.

"I ask the Chief Justice to take up the alleged corruption case of my son, Ali Musa, and to consider him as his own son as he (Chief Justice) cannot listen to the case of his son," Gilani said. In response to another question, he said Pakistan would decide on reopening supply routes for NATO troops in Afghanistan in line with the recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

Pakistan had closed the supply lines after a cross-border NATO air strike killed 24 of its soldiers in November last year. The US and Pakistan have been unable to finalise a deal on the supply routes due to several factors, including Islamabad`s insistence on an apology for the air strike and differences on the fees to be paid for NATO containers.

Gilani said Pakistan should believe in self-reliance as there was a global recession, though the country had not been hit very hard by it. Referring to domestic politics, Gilani said main opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was hurling "abuses" at him these days because Sharif wanted to tell the people that his party was the real opposition. "Sharif is doing so because of the fear of Imran Khan," he said.

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