Pakistan's army assures commitment to democracy after row with government

By REUTERS
May 10, 2017 17:33
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Pakistan's powerful military on Wednesday sought to calm worries of a rift with the civilian government, emphasizing its commitment to democracy in a country where the army has often seized power.

The reassurance came after the military last month took the unusual step of publicly criticizing the government's actions following investigations into a leaked newspaper story about a national security meeting.

On Wednesday, the military's spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor told a news briefing there was no cause for concern.

"We will continue to work with all government institutions to do what is best for the country," Ghafoor said.

"There's been a lot of talk about democracy in the past two weeks, but nowhere was there any mention that any actions should be taken against democracy." Relations between the civilian government and military have often been strained in Pakistan, where several prime ministers, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself during a previous administration in 1999, have been ousted in coups.

The military has ruled Pakistan for 33 of the 70 years since the country gained independence from Britain in 1947.

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