You’re subservient, or you’re mistaken - PM tells military

Published: December 23, 2011
Says if army believes it is a state within a state, it is unacceptable.

Says if army believes it is a state within a state, it is unacceptable.

ISLAMABAD: In one of the most audacious speeches by a sitting prime minister in recent memory, Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday unexpectedly let loose a barrage of accusations and reservations against the country’s all-powerful military establishment.

First at an exhibition, and later on the floor of the National Assembly, Gilani not only voiced concerns over ‘conspiracies being hatched against the incumbent government,’ he questioned the credibility of the armed forces over the Osama bin Laden (OBL) debacle that resulted in questions being asked on the global stage about Pakistan’s sincerity in battling terrorism.

The premier, in a direct reference, hit out at the military establishment, and said that a “state within [a] state will not be acceptable,” referring to the military’s dominance in the country’s affairs.

Fears of ouster

The day started early, and aggressively. “Conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government,” Gilani said at a photographic exhibition at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

“[Whether] we remain in the government or in opposition … we will continue to protect the rights of the people,” the premier said.

The thrust of the prime minister’s blitz, however, was reserved for the National Assembly floor.

“If the army considers itself a state within [a] state, then it is unacceptable,” Gilani said while responding to a point of order raised by Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

“We will have to come out of this slavery. If we remain subordinate to this system, then there is no need for parliament,” Gilani said.

OBL’s visa

The premier set out to clear that there are no sacred cows, and that the intelligence agencies cannot absolve themselves in the OBL debacle.

“We are being asked by the judicial [Abbottabad] commission about issuance of visas (to Americans). But I want to ask how Osama bin Laden lived here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here,” Gilani asked.

Up next, he took on his own admission of weakness – the defence ministry’s response to the Supreme Court wherein it claimed that military’s operational matters do not come under its domain.

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

After pathos, Gilani resorted to logos.

“They are being paid from the state exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes. All institutions are subservient to parliament, and we have made them accountable to parliament”, the premier said.

His conclusion was terse. “If somebody thinks they are not under the government, they are mistaken. They are under the government and they shall remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.”

‘We defended you’

Gilani reiterated past events where, he said, the government stood by the armed forces at the bleakest of hours – over a storm of American pressure after the OBL raid, the Nato attack at border posts on November 26, 2011 and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

“The democratic government has always emboldened and motivated the image of security forces on all issues,” the premier said.

Realising the sacrifices of our soldiers for the cause of the country, the government raised their salaries by a hundred per cent, he added.

The ire was directed not just at the military, though. Gilani also addressed the judiciary, reminding the judges that he ordered their release moments after his election as prime minister, and his government reinstated them to their offices later.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (59)

  • Observer
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:48PM

    Be a man and face the music now.
    If you have nothing to hide, why are you so fearful?Recommend

  • sam
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:54PM

    there you go. Now what can we do for you.We people like democracy but you did nothing better for last few continued Musharraf’s policies and people suffered.drone attacks increased,terrorism increased,poverty increased. Now you come and tell us about “conspiracies”. Now you tell me what can i do for you.its too late.


  • Hukabukka
    Dec 22, 2011 - 1:59PM

    “Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.”


  • Acorn Guts
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Why go so defensive? I wouldn’t feel vulnerable to the ‘ouster’ if I had nothing to hide. To the contrary, I would support the petition and go the extra mile to ensure the truth came out and I had my position clear once and for all.


  • Hasan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:09PM

    Dear Mister Prime Minister,

    Pervaiz Musharaf handed over the reigns of power to you of a country with a much better economy. Why you let all the steam out so quickly beats me?

    We the people, are not satisfied with your administration and governance. Your political goal has been to hang on to power and you are doing that successfully so far.

    May I request you to now move over in a dignified and smooth manner. You have been compensated enough financially.


    A concerned citizen of Pakistan who has had enough.


  • Fahd
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:21PM

    They should not be allowed to become ‘political heroes’ by being sent home early. That has been the key issue with democracy in Pakistan. Let the people reject them.

    Nawaz and BB became heroes despite failing to rule properly, and then come back with even bigger mandates because people forget their misgovernance and only remember the atrocities committed by the army.


  • wonderer
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:31PM

    I wonder why Haqqani had to resign if he flatly denies the accusations from the US businessman, and the PM asserts that the army is under his control.

    Can someone enlighten me?


  • Adeel759
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Military Coupe, is now imminent. Its only matter of When, not If. All political parties must Race to save democracy, otherwise everyone will have to wait for another decade. They need to stop politicking and do the politics to save the politics.


  • Adi
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:46PM

    i Thought ZAB completed full term in 1970s…Agence France Presse, check the records pls!


  • Malik
    Dec 22, 2011 - 2:49PM

    y do people welcome Army? its because the democratic government fails and people want to get rid of them by any mean possible, This democratic government has once again failed. No gas, no CNG no loadshedding, inflation robberies and what not


  • CIA Spy
    Dec 22, 2011 - 3:01PM

    What a Prime Minister. God Bless Pakistan


  • Anserali Khan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 3:33PM

    Does he understand the implications of what he is saying?.
    He is being un-fair to the “establishment’,to the country .
    Time for him to go….


  • Sindhvoice
    Dec 22, 2011 - 3:56PM

    As per, democratic and legal norms, Parliament is sovereign institute, Military and agencies work under them. The power belongs to representatives of people not to Establishment. However due to history of military quo in Pakistan, Establishment is not ready to concede their occupied powers those include control over state affairs with lion share.There is no rocket science to understand the situation in Pakistan.As long as Establishment keep authority over civilian matters (with direct intervention or indirect maneuvers), the situation will NEVER improve.


  • Pundit
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:06PM

    Gilani Bravo.
    He is talking tough as he should.


  • Maryam
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:15PM

    We, the people of Pakistan, has voted you to be our Prime Minister and to rule over the Army according to the constitution of Pakistan which is a social contract we all agreed upon. So don’t be afraid of anyone except Allah Recommend

  • Imran sadaf
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:42PM

    Parliment elected as a result of 44 % bogus votes
    Parlimentarians elected with fake degrees
    Parliment slashing thier own resolutions.
    Parliment with Humagous Coruuption charges
    Parliment with 170 members uttered no word during four years.
    Parliment promoting hypocracy in name of reconciliation.
    Parliment failing to protect lives of its people.
    Parliment the sepctator of declining economy.

    What are u talking abt Mr. Gillani.Recommend

  • Syed Zulfiqar
    Dec 22, 2011 - 4:55PM

    We are not in favor of Army rule but Mr, Prime Minister your administration gave us bomb blast, blood shed, drone attacks, more bhatta mafias and an unimaginable corruption. So do you think that you have any right to rule.Recommend

  • gill
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:04PM

    It is my humbler request to the establishment, who ever it is , to let this PPP government complete its term. They shouldnt be deprived of even a single day otherwise they would again plead to the nation that they havent been allowed to complete their term. Let them do damage to the economy for one more year. Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:35PM

    Only good and clean leaders can make answerable the establishment to Parliament not this one .. Once Politicians become Honest, good character and loyal to Nation then this NATION will stand behind you people.. Otherwise face the music of Establishment until Qiaymat.. (End day).Recommend

  • Sindhvoice
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:43PM

    This reminds me the return of OLD PPP. A fearless, brave and people friendly PPP. Bravo Mr.PM. You really showed the courage and strength which has been hall mark of PPP leadership, who can sacrifice their lives for the cause but cant bow down before illegitimate and illegal demands.


  • wonderer
    Dec 22, 2011 - 5:54PM

    The only democratic way is for the opposition to move a no-confidence-motion in the parliament and ensure it is carried. That is the way to get rid of this government.

    Please refrain from calling upon the establishment to do your bidding, if you do not want to see derailment of democracy once again.Recommend

  • Dec 22, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Brave words, govt needs to stick to its guns.Recommend

  • Adnan
    Dec 22, 2011 - 7:28PM

    Bravo Prime Minister. We are with you in this fight for establishing the writ of the constitution. Army or Supreme Court comes under the Parliament as per constitution. Period!


  • Dec 22, 2011 - 9:22PM

    It is painful to note that Army is again and again discussed ,similar to discussed by foriegn media.We support our Army to keep its moral high and high.


  • Shafqaat Haaider
    Dec 22, 2011 - 9:50PM

    WE 18omillion people are on a bus which is called PAKISTAN and intending to go to a place where there is peace, harmony. financial stability, dignity and respect. If we think that the Driver (Govt and the PM) is not able enough to take us than try to change the Driver with dignity and honour. Change him while following the constitution. That constitution which is helping that many people to be on the same bus otherwise people will start jumping off and there will be 3 or 4 buses soon (already learnt this in 1971). Democracy is the road which will take us there.

    If we as a nation think that there is any other road than wish you all good luck. These roads are tried and tested and that’s why these roads cease to exist in any other country around the world.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Dec 22, 2011 - 10:34PM

    @Adnan: Please get your facts straight. The Supreme Court does not come under the Parliament.


  • Adeel Ahmed
    Dec 22, 2011 - 11:01PM

    The PM is right, but the way he said it isn’t. Being a politician he should have been more diplomatic. Instead, he more or less came out swinging at the army, whom he should realize still commands significant respect and trust amongst the masses. In fact, it seem to be the only properly functioning institution left in the country, others (like PIA, WAPDA, Pakistan Steel, Pakistan Railways, etc.) having been turned vegetative by the government.


  • Hafsa
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:14AM

    Finally our elected govt is taking a brave stand. More power to them.


  • Javed
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:15AM

    It’s done. PPP out. PTI in. Rest of the buffoons – sharifs, pirs, zamindars, mullahs, chaudries remain.


  • saleem
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:30AM

    It was in 1951 they killed the prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan ,
    Killed the constitution in 1958 ,
    Again in 1969
    3 millions people killed in East Pakistan yet lost half the country
    Killed the constitution again in 1977
    Killed the Prime Minister in 1979
    Killed the constitution again in 1999
    Killed Bugti and many more in Baluchistan,

    Does any one still respect them after all the killing and disrespect to the people


  • Usman
    Dec 23, 2011 - 4:31AM

    I hope I never hear the words ‘save democracy’ ever again in my life. Poeple, the Supreme Court is the gate keeper of the constitution and the protector of Democracy, the Parliament should be answerable to the Supreme Court, as should the Army. These people have hung on to power long enough in the name of saving democracy.


  • Usman
    Dec 23, 2011 - 5:08AM

    matter how much you bash the military, it is actually following the rule of law and not voilating any SC orders, this cannot be said of the Parliament and it’s ministers unfortunatelyRecommend

  • DG
    Dec 23, 2011 - 8:44AM

    To the people of Pakistan :

    Choose one : Democracy or Dictatorship

    If Democracy, then support government to be stronger and hav the sole say in all matters. As of now the elected Government is forced to run by Establishment. So however the Government wants, it has to share most of the money and power for the Establishment.

    If Dictatorship then forget democracy and learn to live in autocratic society. Do not complain.

    World is again and again seeing the same repeatitive phenomenon in Pakistan.


  • Zalim singh
    Dec 23, 2011 - 9:59AM

    keep the jack boots under control, or else you will have it.


  • Karachiwalal
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:12AM

    Bravo! i commend you for speak the truth


  • Patriotic
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:17AM

    See the Program “Aaj Kamran Khan kay Saath” of 22nd DEc 2011 you will get the answer Mr. Priome Minister. Recommend

  • Syed Imran
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:20AM

    ET please take care of your ticker as its displying one week old information/news


  • Imran sadaf
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:45AM

    @saleem: Yes still we respect them.Because despite all above mistakes, it is the only institute with strong footings, discipline and merit.
    The day parliment proved itself respectable,discplined and upright, we will surely respect them too with same intensity.


  • usman
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:51AM

    I am not Zardari fan but if you

    Don’t like the present government, Vote them out in the next election.

    No more coups. If there is a coup, you will make heroes out of these democratic clowns.

    Army, stay in the barracks.


  • Pakistani
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:52AM

    Bravo! all institutions should be on one line of agenda i.e. prosperity of Pakistan.


  • MarkH
    Dec 23, 2011 - 10:53AM

    Oh my. It seems the man actually has teeth. Whatever the motive, I just found a little respect for him. Everyone in the Pakistan governing body always seems so afraid of the people who are supposed to protect them or even their should-be support it’s pathetic. Surprising change.


  • SalSal
    Dec 23, 2011 - 11:12AM

    Democracy ??? You call this democracy? I would rather go back and live in musharrafs era. Atleast there was economic growth atleast there werefew drone strikes on the country. Atleast he gave us many more TV channels!!! Eventhough I’m completely against military dictatorship, I would like to also mention that Most of Pakistans tremendous economic growth has achieved during military era. Btw America installed govt, it’s not the people.Recommend

  • Dec 23, 2011 - 11:35AM

    If the ouster come, it will. but let you teach them as well, pass the laws and bills to openly discuss their budget and audit it. put it into law that the head of isi will be civilian and there will be more then 65% civilian staff in the agency. that the military will not run business empires. Do it and do pass these laws before your government is gone. People will love and respect you and the very same people will bring you back Recommend

  • Sadia
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:19PM

    BRAVO Gilani!


  • Arifq
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:36PM

    About time someone stood up to the state within the state, well said Prime Minister! Any institution or individual sabotaging, undermining or acting above the legally elected representative government is committing treason. Recommend

  • maz3tt
    Dec 23, 2011 - 12:38PM

    why the govt on the defensive.


  • umair
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:02PM

    PPP start packing or let the jayalas to become orphan again!


  • Faisal Anwar
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:05PM

    Well done Mr. Gillani & democracy rule. You are creating history in Pakistan.


  • saeed ahmad
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:07PM

    end of PPP gov does not mean end of democracy.Recommend

  • Nadiya
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:08PM

    Please do not insult the Arm forces. The nation is able to sleep at night is because of them. They have given many sacrifices in the line of duty. They are protecting Pakistan, and its interest. The interest and safety of the Pakistani people is the foremost responsibility of the Arm Forces and they will never shy away from it, they are the care takers and the gate keeper of the nation. So, please be respectful towards the Arm Forces of Pakistan as they are honest, ethical and have high moral ground!


  • Salahuddin
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:50PM

    People vs Public servants- lets see if Public servants once again knock the people down or not.


  • Zia
    Dec 23, 2011 - 1:53PM

    Pakistan is the only country in the world where Generals are given extensions and the elected government booted out before its tenure.


  • baldtree
    Dec 23, 2011 - 2:40PM

    Its time to tell the people, who is boss


  • interested spectator
    Dec 23, 2011 - 3:55PM

    Th is is a fight to the finish and will determine thefuture of pakistan. no other leader has before had the guts to say it loud and clear that Army must be subservient to the PM. Bhottu tried it, and paid the price. If Gillani succeeds, he would put his stamp on pakistans politics and rule of democracy. If he fails, its the end of democracy.
    Gillani has been extremely brave. democratic pakistanis must close ranks with him. otherwise its a very morbid futurefor Pakistan.Recommend

  • Dec 23, 2011 - 4:41PM

    After reading all the comments I feel more than 90% blindly support the Army and believe what the army has been telling them in last 60 years that they are the only savior of Pakistan and the best army in the world. May be totally wrong but that is what the people of Pakistan believe. Good bye democracy as people have written flattering comments about Musharaf.


  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Dec 23, 2011 - 5:22PM

    Bhuto was President and Chief Martial Law Administrator from Dec 17, 1971 to March 23 1973. Then he became Prime Minister with the Passage of 1973 constitution, and he called early elections which were held on March 6 and 9 1977@Adi:


  • Jadugar
    Dec 23, 2011 - 6:00PM

    Mr. Gilani You said what the nation needed to hear, To me you are a Lion among sheeps, Your position should be respected by the people and the different state institutions. You have been elected not selected.


  • Paki-Australian
    Dec 24, 2011 - 12:22AM

    PM is right in saying, all state institutions including army and intelligence services serves the people of it’s country. That’s democracy!

    However, unpopular governments sometimes do not complete their term, that too is democracy !

    All I wish for is an honest Govt! I doubt PPP, PML or Imran Khan could deliver on this. This makes me very sad.


  • Observer
    Dec 25, 2011 - 12:01AM

    The comments are so typical of a country which has never known true democracy. People are up in arms to protect the fair name of their armed forces. Please understand Gilani is not defending his government or himself…it is a cry of warning to the country that democracy may be at peril here. Give democracy a chance guys. Even before it can take proper root we have a dictator replacing it and demolishing every democratic institution. Elected government – good or bad – is the only alternative to giving the nation’s future a chance. Giving the army a more bigger role than protecting the country’s borders and allowing it to encroach into politics, is a sure recipe for disaster as your own history has shown. We got to learn from history sometime. I am an Indian and wish Pakistan all the best.


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