Military, judiciary can`t pack up govt: Gilani

Pakistan`s National Assembly on Monday passed the democracy resolution with vast majority.

Zeenews Bureau

Islamabad: In what appeared as an attempt to prop up the beleaguered Pakistan government, the National Assembly on Monday approved a key resolution seeking endorsement for democracy, giving the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, reasons to heave a sigh of relief as he asserted that the military and the judiciary can`t "pack up the system".

The resolution was passed in the National Assembly by a two-thirds
majority in the 342-member House.

The resolution was put forward Friday by the Awami National Party, part of the governing coalition led by Prime Minister Gilani`s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The resolution sought endorsement and support for "efforts made by the political leadership for strengthening democracy" and calls for reposing "full confidence and trust" in the leadership.

While Pakistan Muslim League-N and PPP-Sherpao staged a walkout, an upbeat Gilani congratulated the Parliamentarians on passage of the resolution and said that it was the best day for democracy.

"I salute political leaders for passing the historical resolution and it will be remembered in the history," said Gilani.

Gilani also said that the Parliament was "supreme, responsible and sovereign" and that it was his duty to protect the constitution.

Asserting that the government enjoyed a majority, Gilani said, “The parliament is free to elect the leader of the house. If somebody does not like us, they are free to initiate a no-confidence movement.”

Gilani said his government
may have differences of opinion with the judiciary and
military but both institutions must play their role in
defending democracy.

As members of the treasury benches thumped their desks,
Gilani said the military and judiciary cannot "pack up the
system" or derail it.

Without even mentioning the military, Gilani was seen pitching strongly for democracy though he also clarified that the government wasn`t against any institution including the judiciary and that no one should degrade the mandate of the elected government.

In what came to be seen as an attempt to placate the judiciary, Gilani said that he respected the judiciary and would appear before the Supreme Court on January 19.

"After becoming the Prime Minister my first words were: Release the judges", Gilani said.

The Supreme Court had ordered the PM to appear before the court for failing to pursue long running corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and other officials.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani offered to resign, hours after being served a contempt notice by the apex Court.

I will resign if the Parliament demands, said Gilani after holding talks with Zardari and attending a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of the coalition partners.

PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q, a key partner in the coalition, were being considered as possible replacements for Gilani in the event of his resignation.

According to DawnNews, the politicians have advised Gilani to avoid colliding with state’s other institutions.

The Supreme Court`s ruling against Gilani earlier in the day means he could be prosecuted, leading to his dismissal.

The court order was a sharp escalation in the government`s battle for survival, in which it faces twin assaults from the military over a mysterious memo and from the Supreme Court over the implementation of numerous orders over the last two years.

And any hint of government instability sends shockwaves around the world, given the country of 180 million people faces a rampaging Taliban insurgency and has one of the fastest growing nuclear arsenals in the world.

While Gilani is the one facing a contempt hearing, most observers say the court`s real target is President Asif Ali Zardari.

Gilani said his government
may have differences of opinion with the judiciary and
military but both institutions must play their role in
defending democracy.

During the 1990s, Zardari had multiple cases of corruption and even murder lodged against him, all of which he says are false and politically motivated.

In the meantime, hearing into the memogate scandal, that has rocked Pakistan, has been postponed till January 24.

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