Who wields power in Pakistan?

Who is pulling the levers of power in Pakistan - the civilian government or the powerful military?

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2011, 16:46 PM IST

Islamabad: Who is pulling the levers of power in Pakistan - the civilian government or the powerful military?

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has no direct answer to this question but says it was "an evolutionary process".

Khar has admitted that the controversy over `Memogate` had provoked questions about the authority of the civilian government in Pakistan, and created the impression that the powerful military led by Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is pulling the levers of power.

"Sadly it does (raise the questions)," she said. "I cannot deny that, and that`s an unfortunate part that something as ludicrous as this could raise more questions. It doesn`t take much to be able to raise those questions," Khar told BBC.

Asked specifically who had the upper hand - the civilian government or the Army, the suave Khar replied that it was "an evolutionary process".

"You cannot change things overnight. The Army has had a larger-than-life role to play in Pakistan`s history. However, you do have a democratic set up," she said.

Pakistan`s envoy to the US, Husain Haqqani, was forced to resign after being linked to a secret memo that was delivered to the then American military chief Admiral Mike Mullen by controversial Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in May. Haqqani has denied that he played any role in drafting the memo. In the memo, made public by Ijaz, the Pakistani government purportedly sought US help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 02.

The memo also claimed the Pakistan government would carry out a national security revamp by rooting out military and intelligence officials with links to militants.

However, Haqqani was forced to quit last week over the issue and many believe that it was done at the Army`s insistence.

Asked if President Asif Ali Zardari would survive if he was linked to the scandal, Khar said: "I cannot even answer that question because it is ridiculous...to associate him with this particular memo".

PTI