PM satisfied despite army’s qualified assurance

Published: December 25, 2011

Prime minister hopes Army chief's statement will bring improvement in civilian-military ties. PHOTO: PID/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani used a Christmas address on Saturday to welcome comments from army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that the military had no plans to topple the civilian government.

“The clarification from the army chief yesterday is extremely well-taken in democratic circles,” the PM told reporters at a church in Islamabad. “There will definitely be an improvement because of it,” said a reconciliatory Gilani, who delivered a fire and brimstone speech on Thursday in the National Assembly in which he hit out at the military establishment and its purported efforts to topple the government.

Despite the PM’s apparent elation, it may not be farfetched to assume all is still not forgotten on the part of Gen Kayani, who told his troops on Friday the military would continue to support democracy in Pakistan.

The army chief was conspicuous by his absence from two dinners in honour of a visiting senior Chinese diplomat – one hosted by the prime minister on Friday and one by President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday.

Gilani’s remarks on Saturday represented something of a softening of stance by the government. The PM is – perhaps optimistically – looking for closure to speculation in the new year. “The season of rumours will end in March,” he said, although he did not respond when asked about the second part of the army chief’s statement. Questioning the government’s intentions, Kayani had said: “the reason behind the rumours of a military coup is to divert attention from core issues”.

Despite the qualified assurance from the army chief, the PM seemed in a buoyant mood. He also pointed to the Punjab Assembly passing a resolution in support of democracy, claiming it demonstrated the strength of democracy in the country due to the sacrifices made by the Pakistan Peoples Party.

When asked head-on about the series of different statements regarding the military’s intent, the premier said: “The military and civilian leadership were on the same page for the last four years on issues of terrorism, Pakistan-US relations and Kashmir.”

He concluded with a declaration of transparency in governance. “We will not do anything while hiding and whatever is done, will come in the open,” the PM said.

(With additional input from Reuters)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 24, 2011 - 6:17PM

    Gilani Sahib:

    Since now you are clear about the motives of Pakistan Army, for God sake do some thing for the poor masses for the last one year left for you to remain the PM.

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  • Abdullah
    Dec 24, 2011 - 6:46PM

    What he can do really tell me??? yahan away ka awa bigra hua ha.

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  • Anjum
    Dec 24, 2011 - 7:13PM

    Our full nations honour to Kayani. Now make your, Kayani sb, that all the ranks within the military and ISI put themself under civilian rule and will always will protect and serve as per te constitution. Pak zindabad

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  • Saad
    Dec 24, 2011 - 7:20PM

    He is wearing CK socks.

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  • Ahmad
    Dec 24, 2011 - 7:29PM

    @Saad:
    Leaders Ameer tareen; voters ghareeb tareen;
    Wah Pakistan Wah !!

    Recommend

  • wadi
    Dec 25, 2011 - 3:10AM

    stop this khushamad of army ,it has usurped power,and has been defeated three times
    confront it otherwise Pakistan will remain under threat for ever

    Recommend

  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 25, 2011 - 8:16AM

    @wadi:
    i rather believe pokeman than you

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Dec 25, 2011 - 8:17AM

    Elected PM must exercise his powers to keep the paid govt servants in line. All political activities of govt servansts must be stopped. It is against the constitution. If they are so interested in politics they should retire and take part in politics not when on Pakistani payroll.

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  • dv sikka
    Dec 25, 2011 - 8:56AM

    Let Gilani-Kayani show the real reconciliation by having the case on Memogate cleared by the SC quickly. This will remove any doubts that they are having some dubious deals to hoodwink the public.

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  • American Muse
    Dec 25, 2011 - 10:44AM

    Dismiss Kayani immediately for insubordination, for boycotting dinners hosted by high government leaders. The military must always be subject to civilian control, as in all other civilized countries, if Pakistan is to survive.

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  • stevenson
    Dec 26, 2011 - 7:13AM

    Kayani is a professional who has restored professionalism to the military that was lost due to the involvement of the army in Musharraf’s dictatorship. Thank God the army has realised that their job is to protect the borders and not take over the civilian government.

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  • Amju
    Dec 26, 2011 - 8:27AM

    @American Muse – It appears you are an Indian origin person due to your attitude.
    You should be reminded that Pakistan was achieved with great sacrifice of life and property and is constantly under threat from India and Afghan soil and that is one of the big reason that the Army feels responsible to safe gaurd its population and keep it under its wings of protection. This is very honorable of the Pakistani Army!! Just the recent blood bath experienced by its citizens alerted the Army of the vulnerability that the citizens still face and the lack of law and order.

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