Military in Pak supports political set-up, claims spokesman
Last Updated: Saturday, December 04, 2010, 16:23
Islamabad: Apparently stung by disclosures in secret US diplomatic cables on strained relations between the military and politicians, the Pakistan army in a damage control today said it has a policy of "supporting the political set-up within constitutional limits".

The army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani respects all national leaders, including PML-N head and former premier Nawaz Sharif, chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said.

Days after media reports based on confidential cables released by WikiLeaks said that Kayani had mulled toppling President Asif Ali Zardari and that he had intense dislike for the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, Abbas said, "The Pakistan Army is pursuing a clear policy of supporting the political set-up within constitutional limits and Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani respects all the political leadership."

The leaked cables contained numerous revelations about the tense relations between Kayani and the country's two main political leaders, ruling Pakistan People's Party chief and Zardari and PML-N chief Sharif.

One cable revealed that Kayani considered the possibility of pressuring Zardari to resign as President during a political stand-off last year on the issue of reinstating judges sacked during the 2007 emergency.

In four conversations with then US Ambassador Anne Patterson in March last year, Kayani "hinted that, however reluctantly, he might have to urge Zardari to resign, if conditions deteriorate".

Patterson also wrote in the cable that Kayani had made it clear to the US that "regardless of how much he disliked Zardari, he distrusted Nawaz (Sharif) even more".

On the other hand, another cable released by the whistle-blowing website revealed that Zardari distrusted the powerful military and even feared that the army posed a threat to his position and his life.

In March 2009, then US Vice President Joe Biden told then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that Zardari had told him that the Inter-Services Intelligence "director and Kayani will take me out".


First Published: Saturday, December 04, 2010, 16:23

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