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Pak's democratic system facing threat from CIA, army: lawyer

world Updated: Dec 14, 2009 23:28 IST

A Pakistan government lawyer on Monday caused consternation in the Supreme Court when he contended that the country's democratic system was facing a threat from the Central Intelligence Agency and the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army.

Lawyer Kamal Azfar made the remarks before a 17-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry that is hearing petitions against an amnesty granted to President Asif Ali Zardari and over 8,000 others under a law that expired last month.

During today's proceedings, the bench asked Azfar to explain apprehensions expressed in a written statement last week that the case had the potential to destabilise the democratic system.

Azfar had claimed that Pakistan was poised at the crossroads, with one road leading to a federal democratic welfare state and the second to destabilisation.

After being grilled by the judges, who insisted he should identify the forces that could destabilise democracy, Azfar said there are extra-constitutional forces within and outside Pakistan that could derail the democratic set-up.

"We have apprehensions (about the) CIA and (army’s) General Headquarters," he said.

The bench then directed the federal government and the law and justice secretary to submit affidavits by tomorrow explaining on whose instructions Azfar had made his submissions in court. (More)