News / Asia

Pakistan's PM Appeals for Support Amid Tensions

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, (File).
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, (File).

Amid growing tensions between Pakistan's government and the country's powerful military, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is appealing for support from parliament. 

Pakistan’s increasingly unpopular coalition government and Prime Minister Gilani have lately come under intense pressure from opposition parties as well as army generals for issues such as allegedly poor governance and a controversial memo seeking foreign help to rein in the military.

Addressing parliament on Friday, the Pakistani prime minister largely rejected criticism of his government’s performance, and denied it is on a path of confrontation with the military.

Gilani did acknowledged political leaderships are prone to mistakes, but that errors of judgment should not be used to penalize parliament or the democratic system.  He was referring to suggestions that a military coup could be a possible outcome of the ongoing tensions between civilian government ministers and army leaders.  

The prime minister says now is the time for politicians to decide whether they want democracy or dictatorship in Pakistan.

Current tensions between Pakistan's powerful military and the civilian government stem from a controversial memo that became public last year - an unsigned note that sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Islamabad.  The memo was delivered to the U.S military last year shortly after an American raid killed Osama bin Laden in his hideout in a Pakistani garrison city.  

Prime Minister Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari, chief of the ruling party, both have denied any link to the memo.  A Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission is investigating the document's origin, authenticity and purpose.

Gilani told lawmakers Friday that regardless of the outcome of the probe, democracy must survive in Pakistan, where the military has ruled for about half of the country’s 64-year history.

The prime minister later addressed a ceremony in the eastern city of Lahore to reiterate his support for democracy.

“The people of Pakistan have now learned a lesson from our own history, that democracy is not easy but it is the only viable option," said Gilani. "Democracies are noisy, reflect power tussles and highlight internal conflicts.  But it is only through democracy that we can work together to forge national unity.”

While the government rejects the memo as a non-issue, army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has stated before the Supreme Court that the document is a reality.

Most analysts in Pakistan believe the military leadership does not want a coup.  However, analyst Rasool Bakhsh Rais, a professor of political science, notes that military circles are unhappy with Zardari and Gilani.

“Actually the national climate today is against military interventions, and all the political parties in Pakistan have agreement on constitutional democracy.  I think that there is a possibility that not the government is going to be overthrown but the head of the state and head of the government, Asif Ali Zardari and Yousuf Raza Gilani, may be declared unfit to hold office,” Rais said.

If Pakistan's judicial inquiry establishes a link between the memo and the government, that could lead to the impeachment of President Zardari and the removal of Prime Minister Gilani’s Cabinet.  Top leaders of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party contend the military is working with the Supreme Court to seek a "constitutional" dismissal of the government.



You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid