COAS affirms faith in democracy, resolves to pursue memo case
ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday reaffirmed his commitment to democracy, but made it clear that the military would not back down from `memogate` standoff with the government.
“Irrespective of all other considerations, there can be no compromise on national security,” Gen Kayani said during a visit to forward posts in Mohmand and Kurram agencies.
His comments were made public by ISPR, the military`s public affairs wing, a day after Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, while referring to a move in the Supreme Court to get the memo issue investigated by a court-appointed commission, invoked a `conspiracy` to oust the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led government.
Gen Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, in replies submitted to the apex court in memo case, had taken the plea that since the scandal compromised national security, it needed to be investigated by a body appointed by the court.
The government, in contrast, believes that the matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and can be looked into by a parliamentary commission.
The army chief, taking an uncharacteristic potshot at the government, accused it of trying to divert attention from the memo affair by raising alarm about a coup.
“He strongly dispelled the speculations of any military takeover and said that these are misleading and are being used as a bogey to divert focus from the real issues,” the ISPR statement said.
It is quite unusual for an army chief to speak about political issues during a visit to military posts.
It was in this context that the army chief reiterated his commitment to democracy.
“Pakistan Army has and will continue to support democratic process in the country. The Army is fully cognizant of its constitutional obligations and responsibilities,” Gen Kayani was quoted as having said.
However, the statement was notably silent on an impending clash with the government.
A visibly agitated prime minister had in his Thursday speech at a public gathering and in the National Assembly, reminded the military command that it was subordinate to the government.