Pakistan Islamists Hold Massive Pro-Military Rally in Lahore

Clerics Condemn Zardari Over Rumored 'Coup' Attempt

Some 30,000 Islamist demonstrators from the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) took to the streets of Lahore today, expressing solidarity with the Pakistani military at a time when military and civilian government seem increasingly at odds.

The rally was seen chiefly as an expression of support for the military after the US attack on a pair of military bases on November 26, with clerics also bringing up the “coup memo” from the Zardari government seeking to oust much of the military’s leadership and replace them with more pro-US officials.

Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani has attempted to shrug off rumors of a coup, dismissing both the allegations against Zardari and growing speculation that the military may move to oust him, saying there is “no room for a martial law in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s military has a long history of coups, and while Gen. Parvez Kayani, the current military chief, has shown a rare level of opposition to military intervention in politics the growing split seems liable to provoke a reaction, if not from him, then from another top military official.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.