Zardari-Kayani standoff fuels fears of govt falling | world | Hindustan Times
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Zardari-Kayani standoff fuels fears of govt falling

world Updated: Dec 24, 2011 02:01 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

If the current standoff between President Asif Ali Zardari and General Kayani does not end soon, there are fears that the government in Pakistan could fall.

The bone of contention is a memo that has allegedly been initiated by the president and followed through by Pakistan’s envoy in the US. It proposed cutting down the army and the ISI to size following the US operation that nabbed Osama Bin Laden. While the government denies writing such a memo, the army chief in a submission to the Supreme Court said he was confident it was a genuine document. Now, the military wants to exact revenge for what it sees as the political government double-crossing it.

Following intense pressure from the army, which first forced Zardari to leave for Dubai, Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani, who till now was playing on both sides, went on the offensive on Thursday when he accused the military of planning a conspiracy against the government.

But the opposition is not playing along and has taken the Memogate matter to the Supreme Court. Not a fan of Zardari, the SC has said the president does not enjoy immunity and must appear when summoned. There is now talk that a constitutional coup may force the president to resign or to dismiss the government and call for fresh elections. This coup can come in the form of a vote of confidence in parliament or even within the ruling party against Zardari or Gilani. Or worse, on the basis of action by the Supreme Court.

China assures Pak of support
China assured Pakistan of its continued support and cooperation in economic and defence issues amid severe strain in US-Pak ties. State Councillor Dai Bingguo, China’s top foreign policy official arrived in Islamabad for a visit that Chinese officials said was aimed at taking the “all-weather” relationship between the two countries to “a new high”.

Govt washes it hands of MoD reply
A day after Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) surprised everyone by writing to the Supreme Court that that the army and the ISI was not under its control, the government seems to be washing its hands off the matter. “A top official of the federal government disowned a controversial reply filed by the MoD submitted to the Supreme Court,” The Express Tribune reported.