Amid fears of a looming clash between the executive and judiciary over high-profile corruption cases, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that there should be mutual respect among state institutions.
Gilani's remarks, made in the course of a televised address to the nation last night, came against the backdrop of a suo moto case initiated by the Supreme Court following media reports that the government was planning to sack some members of the superior judiciary.
The apex court took up the case even after Gilani denied the media reports. The premier said there was no chance of a clash between the various institutions of the state as his government believes in a policy of reconciliation and would stick to this path.
"The policy of reconciliation will bring political powers and state institutions closer, with the welfare of the people being the focal point," he said.
"If we can work together with the army and create consensus among political forces, then we can certainly go along with the judiciary," he said.
At the same time, Gilani made it clear that remarks by him and President Asif Ali Zardari denying any move to sack judges of the apex court should be accepted by all. When such assertions are not accepted, "then I may remind that we are violating the principles of mutual respect, which is the soul of the constitution", he said.
"If false news is given preference over the words of the Prime Minister, then it would be an insult to the stature of the Prime Minister," he remarked.
Despite the government's denials, the apex court has asked it to submit a statement signed by the Prime Minister explaining its stance on the issue of the alleged sacking of judges on Monday.
Gilani said he had ordered an inquiry into the media reports that caused the furore so that the people could find out who was behind the move to spoil relations between the judiciary and the executive.
In a show of strength, Gilani was flanked by Chief Ministers of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan and senior Ministers of Punjab and Sindh when he delivered the address.