ISLAMABAD: Having initially backtracked from cutting comments made against the military in a scathing speech in parliament, the prime minister has fired another salvo – this time questioning the acts of the military brass.
Speaking to Peoples Daily Online, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is reported to have stated that army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha had not been given approval by the ‘competent authorities’ – in other words the government – before submitting their responses in the Memogate case.
Read together with his referral to remarks made by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that an act from a government functionary made without a prior nod from the government was unconstitutional, the premier was implying that Kayani and Pasha’s replies to the Supreme Court were illegal, given they did not have clearance.
The prime minister had earlier expressed similar concerns on the same issue when the matter was before the Supreme Court, only to retract them later saying he was mistaken. But now Kayani and Pasha seem willing to appear before and give statements to the court-mandated judicial commission, too.
When pressed by the interviewer, Gilani emphasised that the pair had not taken permission from the defence ministry or the defence minister before submitting their rejoinders.
Gilani also stated that in the two issues which had recently rocked the political and military establishment – the Nato border attacks and Memogate – the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan had considered the matter collectively and taken quick, decisive action. The resignation of Husain Haqqani was also accepted by both civilian and military leaders, Gilani said.
The PM went on to say that the parliamentary committee on national security was dealing with the two issues.
Gilani also expressed his view that it was only after the two issues were taken up by the committee that the Supreme Court took suo motu action on Memogate.
It may be recalled that Kayani is on an official visit to China – a trip during which he has met the Chinese premier. The meeting has raised a number of eyebrows.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2012.