Islamabad: Describing the likely extension in service of Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani as the country’s ‘internal matter’, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said a decision in this regard would be taken at the appropriate time.
Interacting with media persons after inaugurating a photo exhibition titled ‘Swat Smiles Again’ at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) here, Gilani said it is up to Pakistan to decide whether to extend the Army Chief’s tenure or not.
“The extension in the term of the Army chief is our own matter and a decision in this regard will be taken when the time arrives,” The News quoted Gilani, as saying.
Even though the Pakistan Government has clarified its stand on the tenure of General Kayani, sources in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) had revealed that he is likely to get an extension.
CENTCOM insiders said that General Kayani has developed strong working relations with his American counterparts and it will be in the ‘best interest of the operation (war on terror) not to change leadership mid-stream.’
Sources also said that General Kayani has assured the Obama administration that the Pakistani armed forces would not disrupt the country’s civilian set-up.
It is pertinent to mention here that Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had ruled out chances of giving the Army Chief an extension in service.
“The PPP-led Government would not extend his (Kayani’s) tenure, and neither had he asked for it,” Mukhtar had said earlier.
General Kayani (55) is the 14th chief of the Pakistan Army. He was promoted as a full General in October 2007, and made the Vice Chief of Army Staff.
He took over as the new Army Chief after Pervez Musharraf’s retirement on November 28, 2007.