Gilani seeks to put row with military behind

Gilani seeks to put row with military behind

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday sought to put his simmering row with the powerful military behind, saying he had criticised the actions of the army and intelligence chiefs in “unique situations” that no longer prevailed.

Referring to his comments about the Army and ISI chiefs acting in an unconstitutional and illegal manner in the memo scandal, Gilani said those remarks were made at a time when “there were lot of events taking place and there were lot of government functionaries whose issues were overlapping.”

Gilani said: “I am dispelling that the remarks given at that occasion; they were under unique situation when the things were overlapping and there was no clarity. But since there is clarity and now we have all met and that does not pertain to these two gentlemen,” he said before he left for Davos to attend the World Economic Forum. “The country cannot function when there is confrontation between institutions. So for the national interest, we have to be seen on the same page,” Gilani told reporters at Chaklala military airbase in Rawalpindi.

The government had found some “discrepancies” that were “made by certain functionaries” in handling the memo issue, he said. “I’ve taken action against them,” he said. The situation now was clear and there was no ambiguity.

Though Gilani did not name the functionaries responsible for the discrepancies, he was apparently referring to former Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, whom the premier sacked earlier this month for creating misunderstandings between state institutions. Gilani had triggered a storm on January 9 when he said Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha had acted in an illegal manner by submitting affidavits on the memo issue to the Supreme Court without getting the Defence Minister’s approval.

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