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Updated: January 12, 2012 10:25 IST

Pakistan government, Army on warpath

  • AP
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Pakistan's Army has warned Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of “grievous consequences” for his criticism against the military and the ISI. File photo
Pakistan's Army has warned Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of “grievous consequences” for his criticism against the military and the ISI. File photo

Prime Minister's criticism of Army, ISI chiefs draws fire; Defence Secretary sacked

Pakistan's powerful Army on Wednesday warned Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of “grievous consequences” for his criticism against the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence, the confrontation escalating as he sacked the Defence Secretary, a retired general and a close aide of the Army chief.

On a day of fast-paced developments, the Army issued a terse statement against the Prime Minister, hitting back at him for his allegations that depositions by Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Lt. General Shuja Pasha in the Supreme Court in the memo scandal were “illegal and unconstitutional.”

The Army said the Prime Minister's remarks, which he was quoted as making in an interview to the Chinese portal, People's Daily's Online, had “very serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country.”

As speculation mounted on the fate of the four-year-old Pakistan People's Party government after its open confrontation with the Army, the Prime Minister dismissed Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. (retd.) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, considered close to General Kayani.

There was a change in the Army, too, with a new commander, Brigadier Sarfaraz, appointed to head the 111 Brigade, the Rawalpindi-based Army unit that has traditionally played a vital role in military coups.

General Kayani convened a meeting with his key military aides at the General Headquarters and is expected to review the situation with his Corps Commanders on Thursday.

Mr. Gilani sacked the Defence Secretary with immediate effect for “gross misconduct and illegal action,” a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.

Weeks ago, the official had told the Supreme Court that the Army and the ISI were outside the operational control of the government. According to the statement, the action against Lodhi was taken “for creating misunderstanding between the state institutions.”

Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi, known to be close to Mr. Gilani, was given additional charge of the post of Defence Secretary, the statement said.

Quoting an unnamed military official, The New York Times reported that the “the Army will not react violently, but it will not cooperate with the new secretary defence.”

Late in the evening, Pakistani channels reported that Mr. Gilani would address the nation, but this was quickly denied by a PMO spokesperson.

The beleaguered Gilani government is already on a collision course with the judiciary, with the Supreme Court warning on Tuesday that action could be taken against both the President and the Prime Minister for failing to act on a court order to reopen the corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari.

Earlier, Mr. Zardari refuted reports that he had offered to resign at a meeting of his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and its allies on Tuesday night. The statement from the Army was unusually strong. “There can be no allegation more serious than what the honourable Prime Minister has levelled against the Chief of the Army Staff and the Director-General, ISI, and has unfortunately charged the officers for violation of the constitution of the country,” it said.

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Read this article in print(It's more detailed there I believe). I feel the Pakistan army would not want a coup because then that would put them in a situation where they would have to make decisions and own up for those decisions in a difficult time such as now. Running a country is a difficult job. And running a country undergoing a war-like effort is definitely worse.
I guess they are annoyed with the memo episode. And who can blame them, it was quite a odd thing to do (if incase it has actually occurred).

from:  Arjun Moudgil
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 23:24 IST

I wont be surprised if the US is behind the present impasse in Pakistan. The US has always adopted a policy of 'fishing in troubled waters' to safeguard its interests. India must waken up and move away from its present pro US tilt and move towards a policy of non-alignment. A disturbed Pakistan is not in India's interests. It is high time that the progressive sections in Pakistan begin to assert themselves and if necessary take to the streets to protect their nascent democracy.

from:  umesh bhagwat
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 13:25 IST

It is only Pakistan's internal affair.Let us all wish that pakistan will not miss political stability for running a good democratically elected government now and in future years to come. We must remain doubly cautious to have effective vigil on our borders as power mongers in Pakistan will resort to military action at our borders to divert the attention of the people in that country(.)

from:  A. M. NANU
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 12:59 IST

Pakistan has a circular history of alternating military and American rule. The current American rule is being truncated because the Americans cheated on their deal with Musharraf.This circular history will continue till one force overwhelms the other. If Americans overwhelm the army, we would become Western Bangladesh. If the Army overwhelms the Americans we would become another Turkey.

from:  Tipu Qaimkhani
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 12:18 IST

Pakistan appears to be in turmoil again. It is certainly unfavorable to the recent thaw in Indo-Pak relations. Also, the history has witnessed that Pakistan has not gained anything but poverty and uncertainty under the military rule. In my opinion, it's high time when the people of Pakistan should rise to the occasion and manifest that they are tired of military rule and support people's rights through a democratic set up.

from:  Mohit Agarwal from Rudrapur
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 10:18 IST

The developments in Pakistan is quite unfortunate. The climate in Pakistan is not conducive for civilian rule. The army and the ISI are so powerful and interrelated and interwoven. They harvest the terror groups. The PM is already in confrontation with the Judiciary in Mr. Zardari corruption case. Pakistan seems to be inching towards military take over with the expected return of Mr. Musharaff to the nation.

from:  N. R. Ramachandran
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 09:14 IST

There are a number of reports of this development in world press. After reading a few of those it appears to me that the reported rift is not all that serious. within the context of Pakistani politics - this is just business as usual and the "warring" parties may call off hostilities as soon as the next national crisis occurs. And over there, national crises occur at regular intervals like clockwork.

from:  mukundagiri sadagopan
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 08:57 IST

If no one has felt Dejavu with this news item then they are living in a different world. To refresh everyones memory we all have seen a similar episode by Musharaf against Nawaz Sharif. The problem is with the Pakistani Army generals endemic medevial mentalility. India has not learnt its lesson and barters with the powerless governments who have no real say in national policies. India ofcourse cannot run away from this problem, the resolution is to talk with their army, even if it means swallowing the bitter fruit of back stabbing. If the core problems are resolved Pakistani army has no basis to beat the drum and brain wash its citizens into terror.

from:  N Suresh Kumar
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 08:10 IST

See the condition of Pakistan, the Prime Minister is being warned of 'grievous consquences' by an army man. I believe that military never went out of power; only the faces changed. After the death of Ms Bhutto, the army had got even more courageous and acted the way it wanted to. Pakistan is in a grave situation. I would like coup to take place, becuase then we would truly know who rules the country, now the civilian goverrnment says it rules the country, which is not true, today also the army holds the power. Pakistan tries to fool the world by not showlnng its real leaders.

from:  Aiman Reyaz
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 06:28 IST

Here comes another Coup

from:  victor
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 06:28 IST

Until and unless an exceptional person takes over the reins of Pakistan, there will be no end to Pakistan's unfair rule.But who is that person is a big question mark! It is a curse that the people of Pakistan are destined to live under misrule from the existing political parties or the army. With years of misrule right from the day one it is not possible to bring back Pak to a civilized rule.

from:  Srinivasan Sitaram Iyer
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 04:45 IST

OBL must be 'turning in his grave' listening to Pak army certifying themselves as custodians of country's constitution.

from:  GK
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 04:06 IST

I think it is better leave it to Pakistan people, government, and Army. India only need to keep the border vigil and other related security measures of this outcome. We can only be observers with security as a precaution.

from:  Gabriel
Posted on: Jan 12, 2012 at 03:42 IST
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