Pakistan’s prosperity lies in following Constitution: Gilani
IANS ISLAMABAD THEprosperity of Pakistan lies in following the Constitution, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani emphasised on Saturday, days after he accused army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the country’s spy chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha of violating it.
“What I have learnt from my experience as a politician, mayor, speaker of the National Assembly, acting president and as the prime minister of Pakistan is that prosperity of Pakistan lies in following the Constitution,” said Gilani in Lahore. Gilani on Wednesday asserted his authority by dismissing defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi, sparking a stand-off with the powerful military. Gilani had also accused the army chief and Gen Shuja Pasha of violating the constitution by submitting their replies to the Supreme Court without government approval.
Meanwhile, Pakistan lawmakers recommended that Islamabad seek “guarantees” that Washington will respect the country’s sovereignty when top military and civilian leaders meet on Saturday to discuss new rules on coordinating with the US and NATO amid anger over airstrikes that killed Pakistani soldiers.
The closed-door meeting could also provide an opportunity for reconciliation between the military and the civilian government after a week of escalating tensions.
Both army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were expected to attend, bringing the two men into the same room together at a time when the civilian and military sides of the government have appeared increasingly divided.
The army has staged at least three coups in Pakistan’s sixdecade history and still considers itself the true custodian of the country’s interests. On Wednesday, it warned of “grievous consequences” for the country in an unusual statement, raising fear it might try again to oust the government.
Saturday’s meeting of the government’s defense committee was called to discuss recommendations from parliament about new terms of engagement with the United States and NATO.