‘Spectre of army, government clash haunts Pakistan’

December 23rd, 2011 - 12:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Dec 23 (IANS) The spectre of a clash between the army and the government is haunting Pakistan and any deviation from the constitution will have “extremely threatening implications for the future of democratic processes”, a leading English daily said Friday.

“A spectre is haunting Pakistan - the spectre of a clash between the army and the government that threatens to turn fatal,” an editorial in the News International said.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard the case relating to a secret memo sent to Washington saying President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup following the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The editorial said: “…the prime minister upped the chances of a deadly collision between the civilians and the uniformed.”

Addressing a gathering at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said conspiracies were being hatched to pack up the elected government, but he would “not allow anyone - an obvious reference to the army - to form `a state within a state’.”

Gilani went on to pose a few questions regarding the raid to take out Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad: “I want to ask how Bin Laden was living in Pakistan for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here? Why was security not taken care of, if he entered Pakistan without a visa?”

The editorial said that the implication was clear: “Before the army asks the civilians whom they issued visas to, it should also answer what it knew about Bin Laden’s presence in the country”.

“For all practical purposes, the prime minister had burnt all bridges,” it added.

It went on to say that the “alarming escalations and tensions” between Islamabad and Rawalpindi have promoted a frenzy of speculation.

Advising restraint by both the government and the army, the editorial said: “At this point in time, any deviation from the constitution, by any party involved, will have extremely threatening implications for the future of democratic processes.”

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