Pak Army and judiciary are pro-democracy: Gilani

Gilani questioned the credibility of Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who made the secret memo public.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2011, 23:39 PM IST

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
on Saturday rejected the notion of a clash between Pakistan`s
civilian government and Army or the judiciary over the
Memogate scandal, saying both the institutions were
pro-democracy and did not want to derail the existing system.

"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," Gilani told reporters during an event at the Prime
Minister`s House.

The premier`s remarks came against the backdrop of
differing stands adopted by the government and the Army over a
move by the Supreme Court to probe the alleged memo that was
sent to the US military seeking help to prevent a feared coup
in Pakistan.

The government has asked the apex court to dismiss
petitions seeking a probe into the scandal, but Army chief Gen
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence agency
chief 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 Chief and the ISI chief, 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 a query about the government`s point of view
on the Supreme Court`s jurisdiction in the Memogate case,
Gilani 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," Gilani said.

Gilani questioned the credibility of Pakistani-American
businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who made the secret memo public.

"Since he (Ijaz) is an alien and does not belong to
Pakistan, the people should not be concerned about him and
they should only be concerned about our country," he said.

He referred to an affidavit filed by former US National
Security Advisor Gen James Jones in the Supreme Court and
said, "After the letter of James Jones, this matter should now
end."

Jones, who delivered the memo to former US military chief
Admiral Mike Mullen, has stated in his affidavit that he
believes the document was "not credible".

Jones has further stated that he believes the memo was
written by Ijaz, and that Pakistan`s former envoy to the US,
Husain Haqqani, played no role in its creation.

Gilani further said there were no means for an "overnight
change" of government, as change could only come through
elections being held on schedule and "not through any
caretaker or chair-taker".

He stressed the need for national unity to tackle the
challenges facing Pakistan.

He said that during his meeting with Gen Kayani last
night, there was a telephonic contact between the Army Chief
and President Asif Ali Zardari, currently recuperating in
Dubai after being treated for a heart condition.

During the meeting, Zardari called on the phone and
Kayani spoke to him and inquired about his health, Gilani
said.

Following their meeting yesterday, Gilani and Kayani had
rejected the impression of a "standoff" between the Army and
the government on the Memogate issue.

PTI