Pakistan’s Army Chief Warns of “Grievous Consequences” After PM’s Comments

Posted January 11th, 2012 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's military is warning of “grievous consequences” following the prime minister's remarks that the country's army and intelligence chiefs acted unconstitutionally.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was quoted as telling China's People's Daily online that army chief General Pervez Ashfaq Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence head Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha acted unlawfully by making unilateral submissions to an ongoing Supreme Court inquiry.

The court is investigating a controversial unsigned memo that allegedly sought U.S. help in preventing a military coup in Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gilani told the Chinese newspaper that Kayani and Pasha should have sought government approval before submitting their statements about the memo to the Supreme Court. He made the remarks while the army chief was visiting China.

On Wednesday, the Pakistan military said Mr. Gilani's comments have “very serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country.”

Meanwhile, senior government officials said Wednesday that the prime minister has fired Defense Secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi, who is a retired lieutenant general, for “misconduct” relating to his role in submitting the army and intelligence chief's statements to the Supreme Court.

Wednesday's developments highlight the growing tensions between Pakistan's civilian government and the military.

A Supreme Court-appointed panel is investigating the origins of an 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 document came to light 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.

U.S. military officials confirmed that the top U.S. military officer at the time, Admiral Mike Mullen, received the memo but did not find it credible.