Islamabad: Pakistan`s military chief is
working to repair his army`s wounded pride in the bitter
aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, a
humiliation that has strained US-Pakistani relations and
raised questions about the top general`s own standing.
Retired and serving officers spoke of seething anger within army ranks
over the secret strike the Americans carried out on May 2,
undetected by Pakistan`s military.
The US helicopter-borne operation set off a
nationalist backlash: The usually untouchable army was sharply
criticised in the press and on television talk shows, people
demonstrated here in the capital demanding accountability, and
open calls were made for the resignation of Gen Ashfaq Parvez
Kayani, the military chief.
The army is Pakistan`s strongest institution, and
Kayani the nation`s most powerful leader, but he "has to be
very careful," said retired Lt Gen Talat Masood.
Like others interviewed, he doubted Kayani`s
underlings would try to unseat him in an intra-army coup, but
he noted occasions in the past when disgruntled officers were
found to be plotting against their chief.
These rumblings generally occurred after the army
suffered an embarrassing defeat, most notably Pakistan`s 1971
loss of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, when India took 90,000
Pakistani prisoners of war who weren`t released for a year.