Pakistan army chief calls commanders’ meet after defence secretary’s sack

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has called an emergency meeting of top commanders Thursday in the wake of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday sacking the defence secretary for “gross misconduct”, Xinhua reported.

Gilani’s office in a statement said Lt. Gen. (retd.) Naeem Khalid Lodhi has been fired “for creating misunderstanding between the state institutions”.

Lodhi’s dismissal came soon after the Pakistani Army angrily reacted to Gilani’s recent remarks to a Chinese daily over the statements of Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, submitted to the Supreme Court, which set up a judicial commission to probe the scandalous memo case.

Gilani had said the submission of the statements directly to the Supreme Court by the two top army officers was “unconstitutional and illegal” and “violating rules” as they had not taken the government’s permission for it.

In a strong reaction, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – a publicity wing of the Pakistani armed forces – Wednesday said the prime minister’s charge has serious ramifications “with potentially grievous consequences for the country”.

It was Lodhi who had submitted the statements of the army and ISI chiefs to the court about the controversial memo which sought US help to avert a possible coup in Pakistan.

On Wednesday, an Inter-Services Public Relations statement said: “The honourable prime minister inter-alia termed the responses given by the chief of army staff and the director general ISI in the alleged memo case to the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan as unconstitutional and illegal.”

“…There can be no allegation more serious than what the honourable prime minister has levelled against the COAS and the DG ISI and has unfortunately charged the officers for violation of the constitution of the country.”

“This has very serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences for the country,” it said.


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