- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Pakistan’s P.M. appeals for support in standoff
Question of the Day
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister appealed for support Friday from the country’s parliament in a standoff between his beleaguered government and the armed forces, saying lawmakers had to choose between “democracy and dictatorship.”
Tensions between Pakistan’s army and government have soared in recent days over a memo sent to Washington, raising fears that the army might stage a coup or support possible moves by the Supreme Court to oust the government.
The party of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari is the largest in the ruling coalition.
Opposition parties also have spoken out against any military takeover, but they would likely support early elections as a way out of the crisis. Gilani hinted the government was considering early polls, saying “we will go to the masses if the situation worsens.”
He said parliament must choose between “democracy or dictatorship.”
Elections are due in around one year’s time, but Zardari aides have said the government will not step down before Senate polls scheduled for March. That vote is carried out by lawmakers and is expected to give Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party a majority in the upper house, giving it significant political power for the next six years.
The army has staged four coups and considers itself the true custodian of the country’s interests.
The military and the government have been locked in a standoff for months, but a scandal that erupted late last year after an unsigned memo was sent to Washington asking for its help in heading off a supposed coup has caused tensions to spike.
Earlier Friday, two officials — one in Britain, the other in Pakistan — said Gilani had called the top British diplomat in the country this week expressing fears that the Pakistani army might be about to stage a coup. However, the British Foreign Office and Gilani’s office denied any such phone call had been made.
The prime minister also asked High Commissioner Adam Thomson for Britain to support his embattled government, according to the officials, who didn’t give their names because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The British Foreign Office said in a statement Friday there was “no phone call on this matter.” The prime minister’s office also said Gilani had “not spoken to the British High Commissioner in this regard.”
Analysts say army chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has little appetite for a coup, but they say the generals may be happy to allow the Supreme Court to dismiss the government by “constitutional means.”
The court has also ordered the government to open corruption investigations into Zardari dating back years. The government has refused. Earlier this week, the court said it could dismiss Zardari and Gilani over the case. Judges are convening Monday for what could be a decisive session.
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors