Conspiracies being hatched against govt: Pak PM

Pak`s Prime Minister said there were conspiracies against his government to scuttle next year`s Senate polls.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2011, 23:20 PM IST

Islamabad: As the memogate scandal continued
to simmer, Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday
said there were conspiracies against his government to scuttle
next year`s Senate polls, even as he rejected the notion that
his administration was in confrontation with the powerful army
and judiciary.

"All conspiracies are related to preventing the Senate
elections (upper house of the Parliament)," Gilani said while
interacting with reporters at a private function in Lahore.
He added that "there is no room for a martial law in
Pakistan."

Gilani`s remarks came against the backdrop of differences
between the government and the army over a probe by the
Supreme Court into an alleged secret memo that had sought US
help to stave off a feared military takeover in Pakistan after
the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.

Gilani, however, did not identify the elements behind the
conspiracies even as he stated that the polls to the Senate
will be held as scheduled in March next year.

The ruling Pakistan People`s Party is widely expected to
gain a majority in the Senate polls.

PPP leaders have accused other parties of being behind
efforts to remove the government in a bid to stymie the Senate
elections.

"There is no room for a government of technocrats,
chair-takers or caretakers," Gilani said when he was asked if
his government would be replaced by a caretaker set-up.

The memogate scandal, he said, was a "non-issue" and
giving "undue importance to non-issues had put the country`s
integrity at stake".

Yesterday, while rejecting the notion that his
government was in confrontation with army and judiciary over
the memogate scandal, Gilani had said both the institutions
were pro-democracy and did not want to derail the existing
system.

Gilani had told reporters at the Prime Minister`s House
that "Both the army and the judiciary are pro-democracy and I
am confident that they do not want the derailment of the
system, as it takes years to put the system back on the
rails."

His remarks came against the backdrop of differing stands
adopted by the government and army over a move by the Supreme
Court to probe a secret memo sent to the US military seeking
its help to prevent a feared coup in Pakistan.

The government has asked the apex court to dismiss
petitions demanding a probe into the scandal, but army chief
Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha
have said the matter should be investigated by the court as
national security issues were involved.

The government has also challenged the court`s
jurisdiction to hear the case at a time when the scandal is
being probed by a Parliamentary panel.

Asked about the replies submitted to the Supreme Court by
the army and ISI chiefs, Gilani said they were both working
under the ambit of the government and their responses were
routed through the Defence Ministry and the office of the
Attorney General according to procedure.

Replying to another query about the government`s point of
view on the apex court`s jurisdiction in the memogate case, he
said this was a legal matter that has to be resolved in court.
"We are not running (away from the memo issue). We are also
concerned about national security."

PTI