News / Asia

    Pakistan's President Travels to Dubai Amid Crisis

    Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari flew to the United Arab Emirates Thursday, amid growing tensions between Pakistan's civilian government and the military.

    Officials said Mr. Zardari was to attend a wedding in Dubai and will be back in Pakistan on Friday.  They also said the trip is not linked to the current crisis in Pakistan.

    The 56-year-old Pakistani leader went to the United Arab Emirates last month for medical treatment after falling ill.  The president's trip came as army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with top commanders on Thursday. Officials said the senior military officers discussed the "prevailing situation."

    The crisis between the government and military stems 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.

    On Wednesday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired Defense Secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi for his role in submitting statements to the Supreme Court made by two top security officials.

    Mr. 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 on Wednesday to warn of "grievous consequences" for the country.

    A Supreme Court-appointed panel is investigating 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 he wrote the document and has since resigned.

    The army has ruled Pakistan for must 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.

    Analysts say General Kayani does not want a coup but that generals would not object to President Zardari being dismissed through constitutional means.

    In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday the United States stands "strongly in favor" of a democratically-elected civilian government in Pakistan. She added the U.S. expects Pakistan to resolve any internal issues in a "just and transparent manner" that upholds Pakistan's laws and constitution.

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

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora