Pakistan’s political and military leadership is now on a collision course with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accusing the military leadership of hatching conspiracies against the democratic set up in a speech to parliament on Thursday. At the same time there are reports that the army is trying to bolster opposition parties in a bid to effect a change of government.
Gilani, who is known for his conciliatory approach, looked to be a different person on Thursday when he stated that a “state within state will not be acceptable.” This was a direct reference to military’s domination in political affairs of the country. It was significant that Gilani chose to use the floor of the parliament to attack the military leadership. His message to the military was that the democratic government “will not leave without a fight.”
He said: “conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government. We remain in the government or in opposition. We will continue to protect the rights of the people”
Gilani rejected charges that his government had issued several thousand visas to American nationals and asked who issued “a six year visa to Osama Bin Laden.” “We are being asked by the judicial commission (examining the May 2 US raid that killed Osama) about issuance of visas (to Americans).
“But I want to ask how was (bin Laden) living here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here? Why was security not taken care of,” Geo TV quoted Gilani as saying.
In his fiery speech he tried to make it clear that no institution was a sacred cow and intelligence agencies cannot absolve themselves after the Bin Laden saga. Gillani also tried to make the judiciary realise that it was his government that stood with them in all testing times.
He said the government firmly stood with the institutions and fully protected them after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. “I even sacked Gen (Retd) Mahmood Durrani for giving an irresponsible statement on the issue.”