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Democracy to continue in Pakistan: Gilani

IANS
Jan 12, 2012 at 12:27am IST

Islamabad: Against the backdrop of tension with the army after his sacking of the defence secretary, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday that his government had no dispute with the armed forces and democracy would continue to function in the country.

Gilani, who dismissed Defence Secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi earlier in the day for submitting statements of army and spy agency chiefs to the apex court panel hearing the Memogate case, told reporters later that his government was holding nothing against anyone.

He assured that the senate elections would be held on time and democracy would continue to function, Geo News reported.

Democracy to continue in Pakistan: Gilani

Yousuf Raza Gilani assured that the senate elections would be held on time and democracy would continue to function.

Gilani also revealed that the Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had talked to him over phone before issuance of the strong military reaction by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

"We have always stood by the army and we have nothing against anyone," the prime minister said.

Regarding his interview to a Chinese newspaper on the replies submitted by the aarmy chief and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha in the memo case, Gilani said the replies should have been sent through the defence ministry to the law and justice ministry and then to the attorney general.

"They did not write to the defence ministry and bypassed the ministry of law and justice and sent only a copy to the attorney general. They sent the replies straight to the registrar."

Gilani said under division of powers, there should be a balance between the institutions in the country.

In a move that caught many by surprise, Gilani asserted his authority Wednesday by dismissing Lodhi, a retired lieutenant general widely seen to be close to Kayani.

A peeved Kayani called for an emergency meeting of the army's top commanders on Thursday.

Pakistan's all-powerful army warned earlier on Wednesday that the prime minister's recent "critical comments" of the military would have "serious ramifications" with "potentially grievous consequences for the country".

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