‘Pak Parl supreme, state institutions answerable`

The meeting "reposed full confidence in the leadership" of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.

Islamabad: As tension between the government
and the powerful military continued to simmer, Pakistan`s top
leadership on Friday fired yet another salvo saying Parliament was
"supreme" and state institutions were "answerable" to it and
asked them not to "trespass" into the "domain of others".

A two-hour long meeting of federal ministers and top
Pakistan People`s Party leaders jointly chaired by President
Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
reviewed the latest political situation and maintained that
"Parliament was supreme and state institutions were answerable
to it".

The PPP leadership "reiterated that all institutions
of the state have to work within the ambit of the Constitution
without trespassing into domain of others" presidential
spokesman Farhatullah Babar said in a statement.

The PPP "believes in and will continue to act upon
the principle that power belongs to the people and to nobody
else", the meeting decided.

The meeting was held a day after Prime Minister
Gilani launched a scathing attack on the military, saying it
was unacceptable for the army to consider itself a "state
within a state".

Gilani yesterday said conspiracies were being hatched
to "pack up" his government and questioned the military`s
failure to detect Osama bin Laden`s presence in Pakistan for
six years.

In an apparent response to the premier`s remarks,
army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani dismissed speculation
about a military takeover as misleading. He said the Army will
continue to back democracy though there would be "no
compromise on national security".

The meeting of the PPP`s top leadership reviewed the
overall political situation "with special reference to the
most recent developments", presidential spokesman Babar said.

The premier gave a "comprehensive briefing on the
overall situation".

The PPP`s leadership "reiterated its unswerving
commitment to the principles of parliamentary sovereignty,
constitutionalism and rule of law" and said the party and the
government "will uphold these principles under all

The meeting "reposed full confidence in the
leadership" of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani,
Babar said.
The meeting also discussed arrangements for a rally
to be held at Garhi Khuda Baksh in Sindh on December 27 to
mark the death anniversary of former PPP chairperson Benazir

Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Interior
Minister Rehman Malik, former law minister Babar Awan, Fouzia
Wahab and Ambassador-designate to US Sherry Rehman were among
those who attended the meeting.

Earlier in the day, PML-Q leaders Chaudhary Shujaat
Hussain and Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi called on Prime Minister
Gilani and extended support to his stance that "all state
institutions should work within the ambit of Constitution for
the sake of democracy" said a statement from the premier`s

The PML-Q leaders, who are key players in the PPP-led
coalition, said all state institutions are under the
Constitution and all political forces have to work in unison
to nurture democracy to ensure stability.

Gilani also received backing from several
parliamentarians for his clear message that a "state within a
state is not acceptable", another official statement said.

The lawmakers said they would stand "firmly behind
the Prime Minister for safeguarding and promoting democracy".
The differences between the government and the
military are linked to the Memogate scandal.

The army and the ISI have urged the Supreme Court to
conduct a probe into the alleged memo made public by
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz that had sought US
help to prevent a feared coup in Pakistan after the killing of
bin Laden.

However, the government has challenged the apex
court`s jurisdiction to hear a batch of petitions seeking a
probe into the scandal, saying the matter is already being
investigated by a parliamentary panel.

The government has said President Asif Ali Zardari
and Prime Minister Gilani played no role in drafting or
delivering the alleged memo.


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