No threat to democracy, assures Pakistan Army chief

December 23rd, 2011 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, Dec 23 (IANS) There was no threat to democracy in Pakistan, said the country’s powerful army chief General Ashfaq Kayani Friday, a day after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani insisted that conspiracies were being hatched to oust the government.

General Kayani said the army would continue to support the democratic process, reported Geo News.

The army chief was speaking in Mohmand Agency where two dozen Pakistani soldiers were killed in Nov 26 NATO airstrikes.

Gen. Kayani said rumours of a military takeover were false and were being spread to divert attention from the real issues facing the country.

The spectre of a clash between the army and the government haunted Pakistan after Gilani Thursday said conspiracies were being hatched to oust the elected Pakistani government from power.

Gilani insisted that “nobody is above the law” and all institutions in the country are “subservient to parliament”.

“There cannot be a state within a state. Nobody can say that he is not under the government,” Gilani said at a photo expo.

He said: “Conspiracies are being hatched to pack up an elected government.”

In the National Assembly, he reaffirmed the supremacy of parliament.

“Every institution of this country, including the ministry of defence, is under the prime minister of Pakistan,” Gilani said.

“We have the highest respect and regard for the army as they have stood firmly against the terrorists.”

“If they say they are not under the ministry of defence, then we should get out of this slavery, then this parliament has no importance, this system has no importance, then you are not sovereign,” he told the National Assembly.

Pakistan’s defence ministry Wednesday admitted in the Supreme Court that it does not have operational control over the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

The Supreme Court is hearing the case about a secret memo sent to Washington that claimed President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup following the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the Abbottabad town by US Marine commandos.

The defence ministry’s one-page reply said it was not in a position to submit any reply on behalf of the armed forces and the ISI.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz had revealed about the secret memo that said President Asif Ali Zardari had feared a military coup following the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. It led to the resignation of Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani. Former minister Sherry Rehman was then appointed the new US envoy.

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