“When had I said that I want to remove them (chiefs of army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency)? I never said that,” Gilani told reporters while reacting to opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s allegation that he had retracted from his stand on acting against the generals.
Gilani said his recent remarks about “parallel governments” and a “state within a state” were in the context of the Defence Secretary’s decision to submit an affidavit in the Supreme Court without getting the government’s approval. “I stand by my views,” he said.
Pakistan's PM said that all state institutions must function under the ambit of the government while dismissing reports that he had talked about removing the Army chief and head of ISI.
All state institutions are under the federal government, he insisted. “I still stand by my stance that there cannot be parallel governments,” he said.
Asked about the extensions given to the chiefs of the army and ISI, Gilani said he had already clarified that the government had no intention of removing them. He said he had requested army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to continue and accept an extension in the midst of the war on terrorism.
“That was just a request and it was according to the prevailing circumstances. He (Kayani) is an experienced person. He is familiar with things, therefore I wanted him to continue,” Gilani said. The premier’s remarks came amidst continuing tensions between the civilian government and the powerful military over an alleged memo that sought US help to stave off a possible coup in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.
Gilani said that confrontations between state institutions can be avoided if they remain within their constitutional limits. “All institutions must do their work while remaining within constitutional limits. There will be no conflict if the institutions remain and work within their constitutional limits,” Gilani told reporters at the Bhutto family’s mausoleum at Garhi Khuda Baksh in Sindh province.
Earlier, he told the media after offering prayers at the grave of slain former Premier Benazir Bhutto on the fourth anniversary of her assassination, that some elements were engaged in efforts to “create divisions between state institutions”. He did not identify these elements.
“Earlier, efforts were made to create a divide between the President and the Prime Minister but they did not succeed. Then they tried to create differences with the judiciary by talking of the de-notification of judges by the Prime Minister but they failed,” he said.
“They hatched a third conspiracy by saying that may be I want to de-notify (army chief) Gen (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha,” he said.
The ruling PPP will uphold the supremacy of Parliament and work within the Constitution, he said. “I understand that if there is any deviation from the Constitution, there will be a fear of confrontation. In the presence of the Constitution, there is no danger of confrontation,” he added.
The Prime Minister said he had already dispelled rumours about the sacking of the two top Generals by his government. “We are a democratic force and we believe in Benazir Bhutto’s philosophy of reconciliation. We want to take everyone along,” he said.