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Judiciary and army should work within limits: Gilani

December 25, 2011 18:24 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday said all state institutions, including the judiciary and army, should work within their constitutional limits as tensions continued between the civilian government and the powerful military over the Memogate scandal.

"Parliament, judiciary and the army -- we respect all three and we want these three institutions to work while remaining within their constitutional limits," Gilani said in televised concluding remarks at a special meeting of his cabinet in the southern port city of Karachi.

"We are with them, we fully support them and we have no intention to see the fall of any institution," he said.

Gilani further said his government was committed to working with all state institutions.

"We are the elected people of Pakistan. We should respect the judiciary, we should respect the military, we should respect parliament and we should also respect the media. There is a thin line but we will take all of them along. This is our commitment," he said.

"Sometimes governments are formed and sometimes they fall. We have fallen and risen several times. It is not a new struggle for us to be in power," Gilani added.

Gilani's remarks came against the backdrop of continuing tensions between his government and the powerful army over an alleged memo that sought US help to stave off a possible coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

There has been widespread speculation that President Asif Ali Zardari, who spent almost a fortnight in Dubai earlier this month for medical treatment, would be forced out by the military over the scandal.

Sharp differences have emerged between the government and the army over the alleged memo.

The government has said Zardari and Gilani played no role in drafting or delivering the memo to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen.

The chiefs of the army and Inter-Services Intelligence have said there is adequate evidence that the memo exists.

They asked the Supreme Court, which has admitted several petitions seeking a probe into the Memogate scandal, to order an investigation.

The government has challenged the apex court's jurisdiction to hear these petitions, saying the matter is being investigated by a parliamentary panel.

On Thursday, Gilani sharply criticised the army, saying it was unacceptable for the institution to act as a "state within a state".

He also questioned the army's failure to detect bin Laden's presence in Pakistan.

In an apparent response to Gilani's remarks about conspiracies being hatched against the government, Kayani has said the army will continue to support democracy. He dispelled speculation about a military takeover. Kayani's remarks were welcomed by Gilani.

The 100th meeting of Gilani's cabinet was held in Karachi on Sunday to mark the birth anniversary of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

"It's an honour for the present government that it has completed 45 months and it will complete the five-year term given to it by the people of Pakistan," Gilani told the meeting.

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