Pakistan PM Gilani warned by army over criticisms

The army in Pakistan has warned the Pakistan PM of severe consequences following criticism of their military leaders by the PM, while interacting with the media. Gilani, on the other hand, has sacked his Defence Secretary, who has close links with the military. In the last few months, there have been escalated tensions between the military leaders and the civilian government of Pakistan. This latest episode highlights the instability that Pakistan, a country that has been ruled by its military for greater than half of its history, faces.

Mr. Gilani had in a recent interview to a Chinese daily had criticized the army chief of Pakistan and the ISI head for unconstitutional functioning after the latter had made submissions in an inquiry by Supreme Court that has rocked the government. The military strongly responded back to this on Wednesday. It has criticized the severity of the allegations made by the Prime Minister. The military has also warned that the action of the PM could have severe consequences for Pakistan. Also the sacking of Retired Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi due to gross misconduct is also expected to increase frictions with the military. Lodhi has said to have been sacked for informing the Pakistan Supreme Court that the civilian government of Pakistan had only administrative but no operational control over the army. Gilani had also mentioned in December that conspirators were trying to topple his government, though the military was not specifically blamed. General Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistan army chief, had dismissed these coup rumors.

Recent weeks have seen deterioration of relationship between the military and the government. The Supreme Court has started investigating a memo received anonymously, which had asked for US help in order to avoid a coup by the military. This had happened immediately after US troops had killed Osama Bin Laden. The then Pakistani ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani lost his job due to this. He along with Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan President, has denied any role in this episode.

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