Gilani dismisses Pakistani defence secretary (Lead)

January 11th, 2012 - 8:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Jan 11 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minster Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday sacked the Defence Secretary, Lt. Gen. (retd.) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, for his “misconduct and the unlawful steps he took”, even as the army warned Gilani of serious ramifications that could have “potentially grievous consequences for the country”.

Lodhi had assumed charge last November, Geo News reported.

Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi has been givven additional charge of defence secretary, the report added.

In a related development, the Pakistani Army Wednesday warned that Gilani’s recent “critical comments” would have “serious ramifications” and had “potentially grievous consequences for the country”.

Gilani, in an interview with a Chinese daily, had said that the army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, acted unlawfully by making unilateral submissions before an ongoing Supreme Court inquiry on the memogate scandal.

The court is probing a memo delivered to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen by Pakistani American business Mansoor Ijaz to help prevent a military coup which Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari feared after the killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osma bin Laden in a US raid last May.

An Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said: “APP issued a statement on 9th of January 2012 giving details of the interview given by the honourable Prime Minister of Pakistan to The People’s Daily Online of China when the chief of army staff (COAS) was also on an official visit to China.

“The honourable prime minister inter-alia termed the responses given by chief of army staff and direct general ISI in the alleged memo case to the honourable supreme court of Pakistan as unconstitutional and illegal.

“This part of the statement has been quoted and widely debated in the media. There can be no allegation more serious than what the honourable prime minister has levelled against COAS and DG ISI and has unfortunately charged the officers for violation of the constitution of the country.

“This has very serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country,” it said.

Among the various facts the ISPR statement cited that were not taken into account included that the chief of army staff and ISI director general were cited as respondents in the petitions as such and after hearing the parties, the Supreme Court served notices directly to the respondents.

This was not objected to by Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq, it added.

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