News / Asia

Pakistani President, Army Chief Meet, Aiming to Defuse Split

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo).
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (file photo).
TEXT SIZE - +

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has met with the country's army chief for talks, amid rising tensions between Pakistan's civilian government and its powerful military that threaten to destablize the country's weak civilian government.

Pakistani officials say Zardari held talks Saturday with army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss the security situation in the country.  Officials gave no other details on the meeting.

Later Saturday, General Kayani and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani attended a meeting before the government's defense committee.

In an apparent effort to defuse tensions,  Gilani said at the meeting that Pakistan's government and parliament have stood fully behind the military. He also said Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity are non-negotiable.

Tensions between the government and military stem from an unsigned memo that allegedly sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Supreme Court is investigating the memo, which was allegedly sent by a Pakistani official to the U.S. military last year.

A few days ago, Gilani fired Pakistan's defense secretary for his role in submitting statements to the Supreme Court made by two top security officials.

Gilani also accused the two officials, army chief Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence head Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, of acting unlawfully by making unilateral submissions to the Supreme Court inquiry.

Those remarks prompted Pakistan's military to warn of "grievous consequences" for the country.

A Supreme Court-appointed panel is probing the origins of the unsigned memo in which Pakistan's civilian government asked for U.S. help in reining in the Pakistani military following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May.

The existence of the memo surfaced in October when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz accused the then-Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, of writing the memo.  Haqqani denies writing the document and has since resigned.

The army has ruled Pakistan for most of its existence since independence from Britain in 1947.  There have been three military coups in Pakistan, and no civilian government has ever completed its term in office.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid