Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani has "learned the lesson" of his predecessor Gen
Pervez Musharraf and prefers staying behind the scene while
manipulating the government`s decision-making on key issues,
according to secret American documents released by WikiLeaks.
Jasmine Zerinini, head of the French government’s
interagency Afghanistan-Pakistan cell, told Richard Kessler,
staff director of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs,
in January that Kayani was playing a behind the scenes role in
issues like the war against terrorism and stirring up a
controversy over linking civilian control of the military to
increased American aid.
"On the role of the Pakistani military, Zerinini
said General Kayani has `learned the lesson of Musharraf` and
was staying behind the scenes.
However, he is manipulating the government and
parliament, including to prevent change on Pakistan`s policy
towards Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the
Afghan border, and also to stir up controversy regarding the
Kerry-Lugar bill that ties continued US aid to increased
civilian control of the military," said one of the thousands
of secret cables released by WikiLeaks.
Kayani was appointed army chief by Musharraf, who
was forced to resign in August 2008 to avoid being impeached
by the civilian government led by the Pakistan People`s Party.
Reports have suggested that Kayani plays a key role
in shaping Pakistan`s foreign policy, especially relations
with the US and India.
Zerinini argued that the West had "missed its
opportunity to push the Pakistani military to crush the Afghan
Taliban taking refuge in Pakistan."
Citing Afghan warlord Jalaladin Haqqani as an
example, Zerinini said that `in 2004 he had standing as a
leader in the jihadi community, but did not have the
organisation to represent a significant military threat."
"However, since then, large amounts of funding,
predominately from Gulf donors, have allowed Haqqani to create
a network that would be difficult for the Pakistani military
to defeat, even if it had the will to do so," the cable quoted
Zernini as saying.
Zerinini said France was working to "reinforce its
political relations with Pakistan" as it did not "want to
return to a relationship based on military equipment sales, as
in the 1980s, and is instead focusing on counter-terrorism in
addition to economic and trade links."