Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said his government was not "at war" with the powerful Army and the confrontation will "simmer down," remarks that come amid tensions between the executive and the military sparked by a high-octane memo scandal.
In his first interview since the military and judiciary began pressuring the government over an alleged memo seeking US help to stave off a feared coup, Zardari rejected the possibility of a clash between various state institutions.
"These are part of evolution. You think this is a fight, I believe this is part of evolution. This fight will evolve and it will simmer down," he said in excerpts of the interview aired by Geo news channel.
"We have no war with the court, why should we have a fight with the army?" Zardari said. Asked about Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's statement in parliament that had criticised the military for failing to detect Osama bin Laden's presence in Pakistan for several years, Zardari said the premier was pointing the finger of blame at the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
"It is not fair for me to do deliberation and he (Gilani) should be asked about (the remarks). He said Osama was here for seven years, there should be accountability for that. He was talking about Pervez Musharraf. Why is that being linked to the army?(sic)" Zardari said.
The President also defended Gilani on his comments describing the army as a "state within a state", contending that he was a "powerful" prime minister who had the right to speak out about the problems he or the government may be facing, including differences with any institution.
"He has all the powers, he does not feel (he is) under anybody. If there is some (matter) which is annoying him, he has the right to take a position, and he has taken a position."