Gilani Says No To Retracting Statement Against Military

Pakistan's beleaguered Prime Minister on Sunday defiantly rejected the Army's demand that he retract his criticism of the military, a day ahead of the crucial Supreme Court hearing relating to graft cases which could have a decisive bearing on the current crisis gripping the nation.

Gilani Says No To Retracting Statement Against Military

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's beleaguered Prime Minister on Sunday defiantly rejected the Army's demand that he retract his criticism of the military, a day ahead of the crucial Supreme Court hearing relating to graft cases which could have a decisive bearing on the current crisis gripping the nation.

"I will not answer to any individual as I am answerable to parliament," Yousuf Raza Gilani told journalists in the backdrop of reports that the powerful Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had told President Asif Ali Zardari to ask the Prime Minister clarify or retract his criticism of the Army and the ISI.

Gilani denied reports that Zardari had sought an explanation or asked him to retract his remarks about the army and intelligence chiefs acting in an "unconstitutional and illegal" manner while filing affidavits on the memo issue in the Supreme Court.

"I am definitely answerable as Article 91 of the Constitution states the Prime Minister, ministers and ministers of state are answerable to parliament.

If anyone has any complaints, I will not answer to any individual as I am answerable to parliament," he said.

"Whenever parliament wants, I can present my viewpoint before parliament," Gilani said.

Tensions between the government and the military reached a peak last week after Gilani said the army and intelligence chiefs had acted in an "unconstitutional and illegal" manner by filing affidavits on the memo issue in the Supreme Court without getting the government's approval.

The military rebuked Gilani, saying his remarks could have "grievous consequences". Gilani retaliated the same day by sacking Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Naeem Lodhi, a confidant of Kayani, saying he had created misunderstandings over the memo issue.