Jan 13 - Pakistan's prime minister calls a meeting of the cabinet defence committee which the army's chief will also attend. Paul Chapman reports.
There's a glimmer of hope that Pakistan's trying to reduce the friction between its civilian government and the military. The cabinet defence committee is due to meet on Saturday with the army chief in attendance. Relations between them hit a new low after a memo emerged, allegedly from President Asif Ali Zardari's government, asking for U.S. help to rein in the military. Many senior Pakistani politicians are worried about the tensions. SOUNDBITE: Ayaz Amir, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) saying (English): "The battle lines are drawn and there are rigid positions taken on both sides. So unless some sense prevails, unless the temperature comes down, we're going from bad to worse." SOUNDBITE: Safdar Abbasi, senator from the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) saying (Urdu): "Basically what I can see is that there is a serious clash between the government and the judiciary on the one hand, and the government and the army on the other hand. I believe that it's the government which will have to relent. The government will have to try to settle things because if that is not done, there will be negative effects on the system." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is urging a fair and open resolution to the crisis. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying (English): "We expect Pakistan to resolve any of these internal issues in a just and transparent manner that upholds the Pakistani laws and constitution. The military had warned of grievous consequences after the Prime Minister accused the army and spy chiefs of constitutional violations, but military sources are ruling out a coup. Paul Chapman, Reuters