Islamabad, Dec 18: As the memogate scandal continued to simmer, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani today said there were conspiracies against his government to scuttle next year's Senate polls, even as he rejected the notion that his administration was in confrontation with the powerful army and judiciary.
“All conspiracies are related to preventing the Senate elections (upper house of the Parliament),” Gilani said while interacting with reporters at a private function in Lahore. He added that “there is no room for a martial law in Pakistan.”
Gilani's remarks came against the backdrop of differences between the government and the army over a probe by the Supreme Court into an alleged secret memo that had sought US help to stave off a feared military takeover in Pakistan after the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May.
Gilani, however, did not identify the elements behind the conspiracies even as he stated that the polls to the Senate will be held as scheduled in March next year.
The ruling Pakistan People's Party is widely expected to gain a majority in the Senate polls.
PPP leaders have accused other parties of being behind efforts to remove the government in a bid to stymie the Senate elections.
“There is no room for a government of technocrats, chair-takers or caretakers,” Gilani said when he was asked if his government would be replaced by a caretaker set-up.
The memogate scandal, he said, was a “non-issue” and giving “undue importance to non-issues had put the country's integrity at stake”.
Yesterday, while rejecting the notion that his government was in confrontation with army and judiciary over the memogate scandal, Gilani had said both the institutions were pro-democracy and did not want to derail the existing system.
Gilani had told reporters at the Prime Minister's House that “Both the army and the judiciary are pro-democracy and I am confident that they do not want the derailment of the system, as it takes years to put the system back on the rails.”
His remarks came against the backdrop of differing stands adopted by the government and army over a move by the Supreme Court to probe a secret memo sent to the US military seeking its help to prevent a feared coup in Pakistan.
The government has asked the apex court to dismiss petitions demanding a probe into the scandal, but army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI head Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha have said the matter should be investigated by the court as national security issues were involved.
The government has also challenged the court's jurisdiction to hear the case at a time when the scandal is being probed by a Parliamentary panel.
Asked about the replies submitted to the Supreme Court by the army and ISI chiefs, Gilani said they were both working under the ambit of the government and their responses were routed through the Defence Ministry and the office of the Attorney General according to procedure.
Replying to another query about the government's point of view on the apex court's jurisdiction in the memogate case, he said this was a legal matter that has to be resolved in court. “We are not running (away from the memo issue). We are also concerned about national security.”