Closed-doors: President Zardari meets Kayani, Munter

Published: November 16, 2011

President Asif Ali Zardari called on Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Tuesday. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

With President Asif Ali Zardari having suddenly summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US back to Islamabad, two key meetings took place at the Presidency late on Tuesday.

Ambassador Haqqani has officially been called to deliver a ‘briefing on Pak-US ties’ – but his arrival in Islamabad will coincide with a deepening controversy of alleged back-channel contacts between the Pakistan’s civilian leadership and US high officials, purportedly brokered by a Pakistani-American ‘businessman’.

One of the meetings was with Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani – a day after the army chief reportedly abstained from attending a presidential dinner in honour of the visiting Turkmenistan president.

The Presidency issued a single-sentence statement after the meeting saying that the “current security situation and professional matters pertaining to Pakistan Army were discussed during the meeting.” The ISPR also refused to divulge any details about the meeting and said that it was the Presidency’s prerogative to comment.

According to some media reports, none of the three services chiefs were present at Monday’s official dinner hosted for the Turkmen President, a snub that raised eyebrows. Officials in the Presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they had invited all three services chiefs and the president and prime minister both noted and inquired about their absence. They said that, under normal practice, in case of their absence, they are represented by three-star officers.

The army chief and chief of naval staff were in town the night of the dinner while the air chief and chairman joint chiefs of staff committee were in Dubai.

The military’s media wing said the presidency had only invited the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, but he could not make it since he was out of the country. “How could the army chief have attended the function when he was not invited?” asked an ISPR official rhetorically.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said under normal protocol all the services chiefs are invited to such functions after confirmation of their availability. He said he does not know who was invited for Monday’s function since the protocol department deals with such issues.

The other key meeting that took place at the Aiwan-e-Sadr was between the president and US Ambassador Cameron Munter. That meeting also produced only a single-line statement from the presidency. It is unclear what was discussed in that meeting – although reports suggest that it was tied to the summoning of Ambassador Haqqani to Islamabad.

(Read: A candid look at Pakistan-US relations)

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Maulana Diesel
    Nov 16, 2011 - 5:06AM

    President Zardaro; don’t take any pressure. I am with you.

    Recommend

  • A Pakistani
    Nov 16, 2011 - 5:27AM

    Its always a busy day in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 16, 2011 - 5:32AM

    “The ISPR also refused to divulge any details about the meeting and said that it was the Presidency’s prerogative to comment.”

    What comment?
    Reminds me of Alice in wonderland,

    Recommend

  • F Khan
    Nov 16, 2011 - 5:34AM

    I do not think zardari has written a letter which eiaz mansoor media is claiming..there are two reasons why zaradari has not written such a letter one he can not write that good english and the other when he has US ambassador to pakistan hussain haqani why he would give to some one like mansoor to pass it to admiral mullen……but there is a small problem….. farhatullah babar denied any such letter…….he always denies unless there is truth in it……honestly if farhatullah babar has denied than there is something fishy……):- advise to zardari-do not play guli danda style of politics you play with pmln/mqm internationally.

    Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:10AM

    “Closed-doors: President Zardari meets Kayani, Munter”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    And how many open door meetings has Zardari held till now?

    Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:15AM

    Pakistani Ambassador to US in Washington: Mr Haqqani
    Pakistani Ambassador to US in Islamabad: Mr Zardari

    Recommend

  • Usman
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:15AM

    @Maulana Diesel:
    “President Zardari; don’t take any pressure. I am with you.”

    And keep spilling state secrets to the U.S. so they can make another Libya/Iraq out of Pakistan. Liberal fascists of Pakistan are with you President.Recommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:39AM

    The Paki FO has already denied any such meetings took place.

    Later in the day they will issue an emphatic denial.

    Recommend

  • Not me
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:40AM

    Enough is enough.Time has come to say Pakistan first.
    If the facts of so called “back channel” communication are correct then Article 6 of the constitution need to be seriously considered.

    Recommend

  • aslam
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:49AM

    Kayani should tell zardari to leave the presidency.Recommend

  • Jadugar
    Nov 16, 2011 - 6:55AM

    Was this an ultimatum from the main man (Kayani) to the lay man (Zardari)

    Recommend

  • Nine-Zero Karachi
    Nov 16, 2011 - 7:21AM

    Kayani speaks softly but carries a big stick as seen in the photo.

    Recommend

  • Abrar
    Nov 16, 2011 - 7:30AM

    It seems like Military protecting it’s turf and Haqqani may have to pay for ‘over stepping’ the line.Things are begining to ‘happen’ and with political temp rising,the arrangement between the goverment and the military maybe unravelling.

    Recommend

  • Fawad
    Nov 16, 2011 - 7:41AM

    President said I did your extension. Now Mr. Kiyani you keep me protected to run my govt with US aid besides.

    Recommend

  • Arindom
    Nov 16, 2011 - 8:34AM

    Why is it a MUST for them to attend dinners with the President and foreign envoys? Anyway why is their not attending dinner parties become such big news? Arent they supposed to be at their barracks and/or border / military installations at the first place?

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Nov 16, 2011 - 9:00AM

    @Usman:
    “Liberal Fascists”? Please educate yourself what fascism is!

    Recommend

  • Ben
    Nov 16, 2011 - 9:49AM

    Why is he showing the stick to the President?

    Recommend

  • ahmed madh
    Nov 17, 2011 - 3:28AM

    Zardari thought he was the only guy playing clever tactical mind games,seems like there are other players too.Maybe the best player win!

    Recommend

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