PM-army chief meet: Gilani, Kayani go three hours, one-on-one

Published: December 17, 2011

General Kayani and Prime Minister Gilani met for three hours on Friday. PHOTO: FILE/NASEEM JAMES/ EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Amidst a rapidly-shifting and charged political scenario, the prime minister and the army chief held a meeting.

It was one-on-one, closed-door and over three hours long.

Little is known about what was discussed, except an official statement – but the language of the statement is telling. Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani appeared to be backtracking from the assertions he, himself, and his party men have been making over the past few days on the Memogate controversy.

The official statement issued by the media office of the prime minister termed murmurs of a civilian-military stand-off mere ‘rumors’.

“Taking serious note of the rumors regarding a confrontation over the Memo issue, the prime minister strongly rejected the notion,” the statement said.

As the Memogate controversy unfolded, the rhetoric of the PPP and some of its allies has been vehemently accusatory – alleging that a fledgling democratic phase was being conspired against.

A few hours before this meeting, Gilani, while jointly chairing a meeting of PPP parliamentary party along with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, told party members that the memo issue was created by ‘certain forces’ to pack up the democratically-elected government.

According to insiders he had also castigated the armed forces for approaching the Supreme Court directly with its replies in the memo case instead of coming through the ministry of defence.

“They (army and ISI) should have adopted the proper channel in filing their replies,” sources quoted PM as saying during the meeting.

But the statement following the Kayani-Gilani meeting had the contrary to say.

“The prime minister and the army chief also agreed that replies forwarded by the COAS and DG ISI were in response to the notice of the Honourable Court, through proper channel and in accordance with the rules of business and should not be misconstrued as a standoff between the Army and the government,” read the brief statement issued after the meeting.

“The prime minister reiterated that the Government of Pakistan and its institutions remained committed to their constitutional roles and obligations to a democratic and prosperous future for Pakistan,” it added.

Addressing a Senate session few days ago, Gilani is on the record expressing fears that a confrontation over the memo issue could be devastating for the entire system.

According to his spokesman, the prime minister told the army chief that the government’s stance regarding the jurisdiction of the court on the memo issue was still to be heard by the court.

Another backtrack

The federal government was not the only one backtracking.

Mansoor Ijaz, the Pakistani-American businessman at the centre of the memogate scandal, has backtracked on his text message about ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s tour of some Arab states allegedly to muster support for a possible military coup.

A blog published in The Independent referred to a text message in which Ijaz reportedly said that a senior US official had informed him that Gen Pasha had approached senior Arab leaders in a bid to gather support for deposing President Zardari.

“I was just informed by senior US intel that GD-SII Mr P asked for, and received permission from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z. For what its worth,” read Ijaz’s message.

It is clearly written in the message that permission was asked for and given.

However Ijaz speaking on television on Friday said the following: “no one ever said to me that General Pasha received permission from somebody to conduct a coup, that’s not what they said.”

Ijaz goes on to say: “What they said was that he had toured Arab countries right after the bin Laden raid taken place, and that he had in fact made clear to those Arab leaders that he met with that there were a significant degree of stress, if you will, between the civilian sector and the establishment about laying blame on what. Again, these are intelligence sources talking to me; I don’t have a transcript that says that; I don’t have the notes of a meeting in which any of those things were said.”

(Read: Prime minister’s address)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2011.

Reader Comments (39)

  • Sindhvoice
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:21AM

    Few questions army should also reply to nation. With what capacity and permission ISI chief met with Mansoor Ijaz? Secondly as Bushra Ghaur (MNA ANP) rightly pointed out today that if Mansoor Ijaz alleges Haqqani, and he was asked to resign then why not same rule applies for DG ISI who was also alleged by Mansoor Ijaz and he has NOT resigned so far?

    When any thing comes against democratic set up, it’s acceptable to powerful Military but if any thing surfaces against Establishment ( AbbotAbad issues + Osama’s safe haven near Kakul Academy+ Journalist Saleem Shahzad’s case) then they again force democratic set up to come forward for help.Remember Zardari’s speech in favor of army in Ghari Khuda Bux.

    Bottom Line: This country cant be run through dictatorship and behind the scene driving.Pls let the democracy function in country and let the people decide the fate of Zardari Govt through ballots in next election.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:34AM

    The news says “should not be considered as a clash between the government and the army”. This statement must have poured cold water over all the hopes of undemocratic forces that were gleeful at the backdoor politics. Pakistani army is in a weak position and if it deos not prove its partiotism and committment to its oath and constitution then it would hurt the institution more than what Mush did. Nobody in this day and age would tolerate an army dictatorship epecially our aid donors except some Muslim sheikhdoms.

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  • Raj
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:41AM

    Its another FIX !!! Nothing more than this charade to continue !!!!
    Try running a Nation without Aid and providing the Basic Facilities too, first !!!

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  • adeel759
    Dec 17, 2011 - 3:46AM

    Now Kayani wants all political forces to shut up on Mansoor Ijaz’s claim abt Pasha, because it naturally warrants Article 6 against Pasha. Thanks to Mansoor now even Zardari could survive, its call give and take.

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  • Imran
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:20AM

    Pasha has to go, for all the conspiracies he has hatched, and is planning to hatch against the people of Pakistan.

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  • desi-jutt
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:21AM

    i think gove will remain intact :(

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  • American Desi
    Dec 17, 2011 - 6:28AM

    Kayani must be putting pressure on Gilani to takeover on behalf of military establishment. Towards a covert coup and a shadow military rule?!

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  • John
    Dec 17, 2011 - 6:35AM

    There are some basic principles, any independent civilized nation obey..and at its root is self governace..govern by people it elects or selects. Can all Pakistani first pledge no to army coup and make Kayani publickly state that.. eeverything else is secondary..Article 6 starts here..And I hope, the army, seeing Egypt,Libya and Seria (may be they are feeling better) themselve pledge themselves to civilian government

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  • Dec 17, 2011 - 6:47AM

    It is a pathetic site to see that Army in Pakistan can act without even going through their constitutional masters that is Ministry of Defence. And it is more pathetic to see that the prime Minister is gulping back what ever he said; after a 3 hours meeting with the Army Chief.But it does not bother the People of Pakistan as they have seen the worst scenes.

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  • plaintalk
    Dec 17, 2011 - 7:41AM

    Pasha should have the decency to resign.

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  • Ms.Rasul
    Dec 17, 2011 - 8:14AM

    Because of their doubted credebility (politicians) military always play and gets opporunity.Politicians and rulres have to be sincere with thier people.This is the only way to keep away the army from politics

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  • Muzaffar
    Dec 17, 2011 - 8:56AM

    Most of the time our way of thinking is so naive. For example I keep on seeing/hearing/reading that did Gen Pasha ask PM when he went to meet Mansoor Ejaz. Lets grow up….. is Gen Pasha heading a business company where he has to keep his boss updated about what he is doing. In fact even in businesses a CEO,COO,GM levels do not have to tell about each and ever meeting/activity. The kind of sensitive works which agencies handle are obvious,therefore, we need to use our common sense when thinking that how they have they have to report,etc.

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  • Not me
    Dec 17, 2011 - 9:02AM

    Look at the bottom line; a failed government, bad governance, rising prices, appointments based on non merit and cronnyism.Rising prices, failed economy, increasing poverty in the country.This government should have offered apology and resigned

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  • Mirza
    Dec 17, 2011 - 10:47AM

    All the trips and the standard of living of these out of control generals be investigated by the public accounting office. Look at their pictures; they have so many medals to do what? Pakistan has more generals than any other country of this size. Why their budget is not discussed in the national assembly? These are paid govt servants and not the masters. They should be kept on tight leash especially after so many humiliations. What would they do now after the memo drama is a bust? Recommend

  • asim.malik
    Dec 17, 2011 - 10:51AM

    Military is integral part of the state and anything against it goes against the state

    K & P are the people because of which this country is still alive and running, Donot let them downRecommend

  • Hold your horses
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:05AM

    Difference between Indian and pakisktan army : indian army chief requesting the ministry of defense and law ministry to change his official Date of birth…the government rejects the request and army chief now headed for supreme court for redressal…

    Why the hell government of Pakistan allow so much leeway to the army….army is a wing of government and not the other way round..

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  • optimist
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:14AM

    @asim.malik:
    Do u think that life is worth living anymore?

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  • Bhilai
    Dec 17, 2011 - 11:21AM

    Every country has an army , Pakistan army has a country

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  • Hafeez Pasha
    Dec 17, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Why should Pasha go when the man who accused him has backtracked from his statement? Also intelligence agencies do not require anyone’s permission to collect intelligence, which is what Pasha was doing. They are already authorized to do so. Does the CIA Chief ask Obama’s permission before meeting anyone? Pasha was doing what he has been tasked to do by the Pakistani state: to gather intelligence and to collect evidence.

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  • Zain
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:04PM

    It is irony of our nation that we serve and save the leaders who are corrupt, disloyal, head of MAFIAs, gang leaders etc but not our beloved country, as we are their servants and slaves. Every day we see party politicians are fighting on news channels to save the reputation of their party leaders and debating to safeguards the interest of Nawaz Sharif, Zardari etc, have we ever heard they are fighting for Pakistan and what is in the best interest of our nation. I see many people writing on memeogate and such like news but have we ever shown our concerns about Alishba 8 year old girl raped and murdered, and so many young girls and boys are falling to such attrocities. Did any politician talked about this issue…NO, they are just save gaurding their interests. We the people of pakistan, as a Nation, has to decide about our country, not these leaders. BUT unfortunately we are still captives of our GREAT leaders and talk on their behalf.
    GOD Bless us all.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:33PM

    Real issues like economy in pits are not debated instead none issues like memogate taking so much importance. Mansoor Ijaz is a fraud, a liar & who hates Pakistan, I do not understand why are we taking him so seriously. When Muellen thought that memo has no worth than why are we so concerned. Strange & weird.

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  • Truth Teller
    Dec 17, 2011 - 1:37PM

    Pasha should resign just like HH resigned!

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  • M Khan
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:10PM

    The only institution left intact and functioning in Pakistan is the Army… The sovereignty and integrity of Pakistan is directly associated with the strength of the army… Now to cover up their own blunders and memo being the latest this most incompetent and correupt govt. has started mud slinging on the army. If the army weakens be ready for the taliban rule, the liberals out there do you hear me? I think if the army had not done the operation in swat and waziritistan by now taliban mulla fazalullah would be ruling Islamabad, and hanging people with lamp posts.

    Every civilian govt. has tried to rule the army as per constitution, its their right

    The civilian government can contain the military by their performance, by delivering to the masses, just like in turkey… but our civilian govt. is a govt. of looters, they hold no credibility with the masses and also if Pakistan had an independent election commission and no fake votes and nro they would have never come into power in the first place. And even if there is a military coup now, people/masses will not object to it a bit… they dont care, they are grinded anyway. they want jobs, they want end to corruption and injustice.

    May Allah help us.Recommend

  • Pravin
    Dec 17, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Yes, it has a country at risk and on verge of dictatorship.

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  • Beatle
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:32PM

    @M Khan: And so they should help and assist other intitutions to establish their authority and functioing within the precribed parameters set in the constitution. Unfortunately, despite all the setbacks suffered by them in tha last 6 months, they do not spare any chances to pressurize the civilian administration. So called memogate, obviously, is one of such cases. Pathetic ! Isn’t it?

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  • wadi
    Dec 17, 2011 - 4:36PM

    the time to understand that Pakistan is in effect being ruled by army and a y civilian govt is just an under dog In their hatred for zardari prop,e forget that I’m effect he is an honorary president heading the show of democracy -

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  • netizen
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:15PM

    “The prime minister reiterated that the Government of Pakistan and its institutions remained committed to their constitutional roles and obligations to a democratic and prosperous future for Pakistan,” This is welcome that democracy is taking roots in Pakistan and Army has started feeling its obligations under the constitution. The civil government and parliament should assert itself in the interest of peaceful development of the people of Pakistan by avoiding conflicts with neighbors and disconnecting links between the Army and Taliban. Only a peaceful and progressive Pakistan would improve the future of the people of Pakistan. .

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  • S
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:49PM

    @ all those who want Pasha to resign, my two cents, the evidence regarding the allegations is very different on Pasha compared to what was on Haqqani.

    An intelligence source quoted to Ijaz, now there are many questions, whats that intelligence source? is it reliable? how did the source came to know about it? If the source can point towards a country and that coutnry confirms the allegations only than it is reasonable to ask Pasha to resign.

    On the other hand, Mansoor Ijaz has evidence through BBM on Haqqani. So he should have resigned and he did. Now Mansoor Ijaz might be lying or the evidence might not be accurate but that is what the court has to decide.

    Also intelligence service no where seeks permissions to conduct such meetings, they are suppose to be confidential.

    Just to point out, I am against army rule in any case!! But I dont think Army wants the rule, they just want to get to the bottom of the issue, which is there right in a democartic country.

    my two cents.

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  • S
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:51PM

    And please try to understand Army is not trying to derail democracy, do not listen to the western and indian media.

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  • MUNIB
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:52PM

    3 Questions for DG ISI Shuja Pasha and PAK Army :

    In what capacity and permission DG Shuja Pasha met Mansoor Ijaz in london ? Acc to constitution he will report any/all matters to Prime Minister and then await his orders

    Mansoor Ijaz was called enemy of PAK and agent of CIA in past by ISI and GHQ. Howcome this enemy of PAK become trust worthy friend of Mr. Shuja pasha ?

    For a theory, if he has now become a Trust worthy friend, the same Mansoor Ijaz also said DG Shuja Pasha went to Saudiz/Arab gov to discuss and conspire ways and means of removal of an elected Presidient. Is this right or wrong ? If wrong , howcome the memo is true and if right why Pasha is still in his office ?

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Dec 17, 2011 - 6:22PM

    @Hafeez Pasha:
    Well said – you are seeing the wood for the trees,

    Recommend

  • Maulana Diesel
    Dec 17, 2011 - 7:06PM

    let the democracy to flourish in pakistan. there is justice, economic boom, respect for merit and above all govt is ensuring basic human rights. then why the hell we believe in such trash scandals. the army and judiciary has no business in politics when all is heaven.

    Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Dec 17, 2011 - 7:33PM

    @M Khan:
    Army may be the only institution functioning in Pakistan but, the way it has been and still continues to function is the sole cause for Pakistan loosing credibility and respect which translates to the much talked about sovereignty, loosing part of the country and loosing territory within the remaining country. True or not, the army of no other country in the world talked about in such a scandalous manner – trying to get permission from other countries to overthrow the government of its own country. Has the army really protected the country or has the civilian government protected the army (as in the case of Nawaz Sherif rushing to meet President Clinton during the Kargil adventure) ? Respect and credibility is what others give you, not what you demand from them. If Mansor Izaz, a person described as lacking credibility, can singlehandedly bring down the army to its knees, it has no better credibility than MI. In the long run, if the Army functions within its constitutional role, it would be a better force.

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Dec 17, 2011 - 8:47PM

    Shadowy military rule is waiting ?…. Again.

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  • netizen
    Dec 17, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Instead of discrediting & abusing President as dishonest bring no confidence motion or a movement against corruption like Anna Hazare but do not support
    Army taking reins of your nation.

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  • Dec 18, 2011 - 10:55AM

    @Muzaffar: Dear Muzaffar your thinking is really so naive. For example “In fact even in businesses a CEO,COO,GM levels” DO have to tell about each and every meeting/activity.This is my personal experience working with multinational companies in the levels you have mentioned.However your comparisons are out of place.An army chief is a public servant and is squarely responsible to the President (The Supreme Commander) and his Prime Minister. How can he imagine travelling out side the country and that too without an approved agenda by his immediate boss the Minister of Defence?? RegardsRecommend

  • Dec 18, 2011 - 10:57AM

    @Not me: Dear “Not me” I am sure it is not you.

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  • Dec 18, 2011 - 11:02AM

    @asim.malik: No country ever survives because of its generals. The generals survive because of a country and its governance.Generals are supposed to implement the wishes of governance and not the other way round.

    Recommend

  • wadi
    Dec 20, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Army is quiet good at apprehending politicians but what was Inteligence chief doing when
    ussam bin Ladin was living in Pakistan under his nose and what was Me kiyani doing when his army post was bombarded for over two hours these Genrals should be prosecuted and I wonder if suprem court will take Suo moto action

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