Military in Pak supports political set-up, claims spokesman

Last Updated: Saturday, December 4, 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".

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 4, 2010 - 16:23

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