Memo: Replies by Kayani, Pasha illegal, says Gilani

Gilani said that the replies submitted to the SC by the chiefs of the Army and ISI was "unconstitutional and illegal".

Islamabad: In yet another twist in the memo
scandal, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday suggested
that the replies submitted to the Supreme Court by the chiefs
of the army and ISI was "unconstitutional and illegal" as it
were sent without obtaining the government`s approval.

The responses given by the army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani and the Director General of the Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha to the Supreme
Court in connection with the alleged memo did not have the
approval of the competent authority as required under the
rules of business, Gilani said.

No summary or formal proposal seeking the approval of the
competent authority for these two replies was initiated by the
Defence Ministry, Gilani said during an interview with
People`s Daily Online of China.

No approval was obtained for the replies from the Defence
Minister, Gilani said told the web edition of the state-run
Chinese daily.

Any official action by a government functionary without
the prior approval of the government is "unconstitutional and
illegal", he said.

Gilani pointed out that the Supreme Court Chief Justice
had observed that any act of a government functionary without
the government`s nod is unconstitutional and therefore

The Prime Minister said in both the memo controversy and
the recent NATO air strike on Pakistani military border posts,
the civil and military leadership of Pakistan had held
detailed meetings and taken immediate decisions.

He said both issues were referred to the Parliamentary
Committee on National Security and the government had accepted
the resignation of Husain Haqqani, Pakistan`s former envoy to
the US.

After the memo issue was referred to the parliamentary
committee, the Supreme Court took suo moto action, he said.

Gilani described the memo as a "letter written by one
American national to another American".

This is not the first time that Gilani has criticised the
army and ISI for their handling of the memo issue.

Gilani was recently angered by an affidavit submitted to
the apex court by Defence Secretary Khalid Naeem Lodhi, a
retired general considered to be close to the army chief.

Lodhi`s affidavit had contended that the civilian
government had no control over the operational matters of the
army and the powerful ISI.

Gilani responded by saying it was unacceptable for the
army to act like a "state within a state".

The civilian government and the military adopted
divergent stands when the apex court took up the memo issue.

The government challenged the court`s jurisdiction to
hear the matter, saying it was already being investigated by
the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.

The chiefs of the army and ISI urged the court to conduct
an independent probe.

The alleged memo, made public by Pakistani-American
businessman Mansoor Ijaz, sought US help to stave off a feared
military coup in Pakistan.