‘Pak Parl supreme, state institutions answerable`
Last Updated: Friday, December 23, 2011, 21:10
  
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 circumstances".

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 Bhutto.

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 office.

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.

PTI


First Published: Friday, December 23, 2011, 21:10


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