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No one toppling civilian govt in Pakistan: Gilani

Islamabad: Amid controversy over a secret memo purportedly sent by Pakistan government to the US fearing an army takeover, Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani has ruled out the threat of either a "judicial" or "military" coup, saying the two institutions did not want to derail the democratic system. Gilani made the remarks while participating in the programme "Prime Minister Online" on state-run PTV last night.

He was responding to questions related to possible strains between the PPP-led civilian government on one side and the judiciary and military on the other. Gilani contended that the government, military and ISI were on the same page on the issue of the controversial secret memorandum sent to the US military in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden by American forces in Abbottabad on May 2.
There will be a joint reply from the government and army to the Supreme Court on the memo issue, he said.

The apex court on Thursday ordered the formation of a commission to investigate the "Memogate" controversy and sought responses on the issue within 15 days from the President, army chief and ISI chief.

In response to a question, Gilani said Pakistan`s decision to boycott the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan to protest a NATO attack that killed 24 soldiers was final and taken collectively. "How we can attend the conference when our sovereignty was attacked?" he said. Afghanistan`s soil was used against Pakistan`s sovereignty and integrity, and under such circumstances, Islamabad had to focus on its own security, he said. "If we sit in the Bonn Conference and another attack takes place, who will be responsible for that?" Gilani asked.

Gilani denied that the government was considering a proposal to send Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to the Bonn Conference. At the same time, he said Pakistan`s actions should not be seen as a withdrawal from the war on terrorism. "Terrorism is against our own country and this is our own war," he said. Pakistan can continue working with the US, NATO and International Security Assistance Force after formulating new rules of engagement under a new agreement, he added.

Gilani said he had asked the Parliamentary Committee on National Security to give recommendations on future ties with the US and NATO. He said he would attend a meeting of the parliamentary panel soon and brief its members on the NATO attack and other issues. Asked about the possibility of holding a dialogue with the Taliban, he said the militants should first decommission themselves and denounce violence and the government could then talk to them to bring them into the mainstream.

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