ISLAMABAD: The military top brass, which met on Thursday amid a widening rift between the army and the civilian government, decided that it would not intervene politically and rather the memo issue would be settled by the Supreme Court.
However, the meeting decided that if the apex court sought the army’s help for getting its decisions implemented, the request could be considered.The day-long meeting of corps commanders and principal staff officers at the General Headquarters (GHQ) was chaired by army chief General Ashfaq Kayani. The discussion focused on the “memogate”, the ongoing confrontation between the army and civilian rulers, the prime minister’s interview to a Chinese media organisation in which he dubbed the replies by army chief and ISI director general to the Supreme Court a violation of constitution and Wednesday’s ISPR statement in response to that, along with the sacking of defence secretary Lt General (r) Khalid Naeem Lodhi and his replacement, Nargis Sethi.
There was no official word by the ISPR on the top-level military consultations on the ongoing standoff, but a security official seeking anonymity said the meeting observed that a take over by the army shall not be an option.The army leadership observed that as the memo issue was already in the country’s highest court of law, it should be settled there.“The SC shall decide the memo case and there shall be no military intervention, but in case a call is given by the apex court to the armed forces under Article 190, it could be given consideration,” the official said, while citing the observation of military commanders on the issue.GOVT SUMMONS DCC: Meanwhile, in order to resolve the standoff with the army, the government has decided to convene an important meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on tomorrow (Saturday).
Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar told journalists that Gen Kayani would also attend the meeting with other services chiefs.In their meeting on Thursday, the military commanders also decided that in case Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz arrived in Pakistan to appear before the memo commission, the army would provide him security and protection, as was requested by the memo commission and the government would be informed before the provision.The army leadership also decided that there would be no compromise on country’s security and supreme national interests, the source
The security official said Thursday’s meeting also took strong exception to the sacking of Khalid Lodhi, observing that he had not done anything illegal by forwarding the replies of the army chief and ISI DG to the SC.Replacement of Lodhi with Sethi, according to some observers, is government’s bid to have someone at the top in the Defence Ministry to sign the possible termination letters of army chief and ISI DG in case such a decision was made.However, another security official refused to comment, saying the military command’s position was that the defence secretary should not have been changed in the first place, but the official did not speculate on the government’s motive. – PT