Islamabad: In a bid to calm increasing tensions between the military and the government, Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani late on Saturday said the civilian leadership fully backs the armed forces.
Speaking at a scheduled meeting of the cabinet defence committee, Gilani said, "The armed forces of Pakistan are a pillar of the nation`s resilience and strength".
Friction between the military and the government on Pakistan has spiked after an unsigned memo was sent to Washington last year asking for its help in heading off a supposed coup. The note enraged the Army, which was still smarting from the humiliation of last year`s covert US raid that killed Osama bin Laden north of Islamabad.
“Together, in complete harmony with each other and other vital institutions, we can change this country’s destiny,” the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan cited Gilani as saying.
"The nation applauds their heroic services in the defence of the motherland...Our government and Parliament and above all our patriotic people have stood fully behind our brave armed forces and security personnel."
Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani as well as many other top military officials attended the meeting.
On Saturday, Kayani met President Asif Ali Zardari and discussed the "current security situation”, according to the state-run news agency.
The Army has staged at least three coups in Pakistan`s six-decade history and still considers itself the true custodian of the country`s interests.
Analysts say General Kayani has little appetite for a coup, but they say the generals may be happy to allow the Supreme Court to dismiss the government by "constitutional means”. The court has legitimised earlier coups.