No Intention of Sacking Kayani, Pasha: Pak Govt

Rezaul H Laskar/Islamabad
No Intention of Sacking Kayani, Pasha: Pak Govt
Amid a tense standoff between Pakistan's civilian and military leadership, the government today told the Supreme Court that it has no intention to sack the army and intelligence chiefs who were accused of acting in an "unconstitutional and illegal" manner in the memo scandal.

Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq informed a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry of the government's position while responding to a petition that had asked the apex court to restrain the civilian administration from taking any action against army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Lawyer F K Butt, who filed the petition, had asked the court to direct the government not to take any steps against the army and ISI chiefs like the recent sacking of Defence Secretary (retired) Lt Gen Khalid Naeem Lodhi by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Butt contended that, according to media reports, the government could sack the army and ISI chiefs over the memo issue.

The Attorney General drew the court's attention to a statement on the issue by the Prime Minister and said Butt certainly had information about this statement.

He said the court should not rely on media reports as the petition was based on mere speculation.

The Chief Justice directed the Attorney General to seek instructions from the government and to file a detailed reply on the matter in two weeks. The top judge further observed that the situation should "move towards an improvement".

Tensions between the government and the military reached a peak last week after Gilani said the army and intelligence chiefs had acted in an "unconstitutional and illegal" manner by filing affidavits on the memo issue in the apex court without getting the government's approval.

The Prime Minister sacked Lodhi, a confidant of the army chief, on charges of gross misconduct and creating misunderstandings between the government and the military.

Lodhi has challenged his dismissal in court, saying he was given no opportunity to explain his position.

Lodhi earned the premier's ire by filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court that contended the government had no operational control of the army and ISI.

The affidavit was filed in a case related to the memo scandal that has triggered a simmering row between the government and the military.

The alleged memo had sought US help to stave off a feared military takeover in Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May last year.
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