Kayani meets Gilani; discuss national security issues

Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and discussed national security issues amid persisting speculation about the health of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Last Updated: Dec 09, 2011, 22:07 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq
Pervez Kayani on Friday met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and
discussed national security issues amid persisting speculation
about the health of President Asif Ali Zardari, who is being
treated in Dubai for a heart condition.

A statement issued by the premier`s office said Gilani
and Kayani discussed "matters pertaining to national security
in the backdrop" of the cross-border NATO air strike that
killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Mohmand tribal region last
month.

The statement did not say whether the two leaders had
discussed the President`s health.

Zardari`s sudden departure to Dubai on Tuesday to seek
treatment for what officials have described as a previously
diagnosed cardiovascular condition triggered speculation and
rumours that he might be on the verge of resigning due to
pressure from the military over the Memogate controversy.

The official statement said Kayani informed the Prime
Minister of steps taken by the army on the border with
Afghanistan to "revamp the defence capabilities aimed at
effectively countering the recurrence of the incursion into
the Pakistan territory".

Gilani said his government will not "allow a similar
attack on the country`s sovereignty and any attempt in future
will definitely meet the detrimental response", the statement
said.

The government and people of Pakistan are "ready to
provide the armed forces all the necessary resources to
bolster its defence and professional capabilities", Gilani
said.

Kayani thanked the Prime Minister and expressed the "firm
resolve of the Army to defend the country`s sovereignty".
Earlier in the day, US Ambassador Cameron Munter met
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to discuss the "current
status of bilateral relations", the Foreign Office said.

Khar remarked that relations between the two countries
"must be based on mutual respect".

In an apparent reference to the NATO air strike of
November 26, Khar said "recent incidents have led to a
re-evaluation" of Pakistan’s terms of engagement with the US.

Munter assured Khar of an "early conclusion" of the
investigation into the NATO attack and said the US would work
with the Pakistan government to "normalize the relationship at
the earliest".

Khar also met Prime Minister Gilani and discussed the
agenda of a conference of Pakistani envoys to be held in
Islamabad during December 13-14.

She requested Gilani to chair the concluding session of
the meet and share his vision on foreign policy objectives.
The Foreign Office has convened the meeting to seek the
views of envoys posted in key world capitals regarding a
planned re-evaluation of Pakistan’s ties with the US.

Pakistan responded angrily to the air strike by closing
all NATO supply routes and asking the US to vacate Shamsi
airbase, reportedly used by CIA-operated drones.

PTI