Pakistan PM warns against criticism of military
PAKISTAN: Pakistanâ€™s Prime Minister warned against criticism
of the army after supporters of the countryâ€™s suspended top judge
attacked the military rule of President Pervez Musharraf.
Premier Shaukat Aziz said the courts should â€śthink about taking
actionâ€ť after a string of lawyers at a seminar attended by Chief Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Saturday called on Musharraf to quit as
army chief. During fiery speeches some 1,200 lawyers kept shouting â€śGo
Chaudhry â€” whose suspension by Musharraf on March 9 has triggered an
intense political crisis â€” stopped short of overtly criticising the
president but warned that â€śpower corrupts and absolute power corrupts
â€śIt does not suit any Pakistani to speak against the armed forces
because it affects our defence, integrity and prestige. We strongly
condemn it,â€ť Aziz told reporters.
The military had always helped Pakistan in times of need such as
earthquakes and floods and the lawyersâ€™ â€śremarks against armed forces
have hurt the sentiments of all Pakistanis,â€ť the premier added.
He said the Supreme Court had allowed the seminar to go ahead on
condition that there would be no politics or â€ścharacter assassinationâ€ť
involved. â€śThe judiciary should now think about taking action on this,â€ť
Musharrafâ€™s opponents say he sacked the independent-minded Chaudhry
to weaken the courts as he bids to overturn a constitutional provision
that says he should step down as army chief by the end of the year.
About 5,000 lawyers and opposition party members rallied outside the
Supreme Court to greet Chaudhry ahead of Saturdayâ€™s seminar on the
independence of the judiciary.
The Supreme Court heard further submissions by Chaudhryâ€™s lawyers on
Monday on an appeal by the chief justice against his suspension on
charges of misconduct.
Islamabad, Tuesday, AFP.