Prime Minister Gilani made comments in Parliament today accusing conspirators within the Military establishment of plotting to bring down the civilian government. He also hinted that the Military may have had a role in permitting Osama Bin Laden to live hidden in Pakistan for over six years.
This rift follows the leaking of a secret memo last week in which President Zardari allegedly asked the US for help to prevent a potential military take-over. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has launched an inquiry into the memo, and demanded an official reply from the President.
Gilani emphasised parliamentary supremacy over the military, accusing them of attempting to be a “state within a state”. BBC correspondent M Ilyas Khan says there has always been an impression in Pakistan that the powerful military and its intelligence services are a state within the state.
Tensions between civilian and military establishment have been a general characteristic of Pakistani politics since independence. The Pakistani military has latest governed the country from 1999 to 2008, when General Pervez Musharraf was overthrown by a coalition of the two historically hegemonic political parties, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League, following general elections.