Zardari-Kayani meeting shows ‘limited options’ for all

Published: January 16, 2012
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" The generals are
aware that they
cannot seek a direct
intervention; it is
also true that the
government cannot
sack the army chief,"
says a close aide to the president. PHOTO: FILE

" The generals are aware that they cannot seek a direct intervention; it is also true that the government cannot sack the army chief," says a close aide to the president. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The face-to-face meeting between President Asif Zardari and army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani might have helped the two sides pull back from the brink, but the worst is not over yet, according to a senior member of the embattled Pakistan Peoples Party-led government.

A PPP veteran and close aide of the president has acknowledged the civilian government’s ‘limitations’ in asserting its authority over the powerful military establishment.

But what has emerged, in the wake of a widening rift between the civil and military leadership, is that all stakeholders have ‘limited options’ to exercise.

“The generals are aware of the fact that they cannot seek a direct intervention and it is also true that the government cannot sack the army chief either in the present situation,” the source said.

The PPP leader, who asked not to be named, said that tension had eased slightly after the meeting between the president and the army chief. “But the standoff still persists,” he added.

In fact, he went on to say that a lot will depend on whether Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz appears before the three-judge commission investigating the memo controversy.

It is widely believed that the government does not want Ijaz to record his statement before the judicial panel, as it considers the memo nothing but a conspiracy to derail democracy. “If Mansoor Ijaz does arrive then you can very well find out who will ensure his security and visit,” he asked, referring to the military.

Though Ijaz, who is at the centre of the controversy after his Financial Times article in October last year, has not yet applied for a visa to visit Pakistan, there is speculation that he may spring a surprise by appearing before the commission.

Hence, the coming week is critical. A military official told The Express Tribune that the army wanted a de-escalation of the situation but said it was premature to say that ‘all is now well’ after the weekend meeting.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the main reason behind Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s outburst against the military and intelligence chiefs is the army’s ‘backtracking on an understanding’ reached over the memo scandal.

A well-informed government official claimed that the army agreed not to pursue the issue after former Ambassador Husain Haqqani’s resignation on November 22. “The Director General of the ISI was in contact with Husain Haqqani before he was summoned back to the country and there was an understanding that the matter would stand closed after his resignation,” the official said.

However, he added, contrary to that ‘deal’ the army chief and DG ISI submitted their replies before the Supreme Court. To make matters worse, their submissions were totally different to that of the government stance.

“The government felt betrayed by this,” the source said, explaining the PM’s provocative words last week.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Mehran
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:10AM

    PM should be cautious because some one threats him with “grievous consequences”. What a joke, a government officer is intimidating his boss (PM) with unfavorable consequences.Does this happen any where in the world?

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  • Adnan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:14AM

    Let’s hope for the best for Pakistan!!

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  • Jan 16, 2012 - 8:39AM

    A house divided against itself can not stand.

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  • omer
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:12AM

    @Mehran: and in which country a sitting PM accuses his army chief of breaking the constitution while the chief is on an official visit to a friendly country ? either you sack your chief over such a mis conduct or you shut up and live with it.
    all of this is just a drama on a grand scale, being played by all to divert public attention from a dysfunctional economy.

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  • Megatron
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:26AM

    @Mehran:
    Does this type of enormous corruption happens anywhere in the world???

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  • Adnan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:35PM

    @Megatron:
    My brother! There are countries where the scale of corruption is much higher than Pakistan. Recent cases of corruption reported in France, Italy and India are a few examples. The corruption is in the system and that’s why there is a Lok Pal Movement going on in India to change the rules of business to minimise the scale of corruption. But only in Pakistan, the media and establishment uses it only to malign the elected government.

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  • Chacha Fazlu
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:44PM

    The conflict was between the big guy and the army chief of staff. Just look how successfully our Machiavelli turned the tables and became the arbitrator.

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  • Jalib
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:08PM

    @Mehran,

    The ISPR statement said “grievous consequences for the country”. Which is true because infighting b/w the various arms of the state does just that. Stop reading the horrendous foriegn press and going bonkers!

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  • mohammad naeem
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:10PM

    Wonder whether our CJ the PCO judge is an angle who has no political idols, who has no fear from strong quarters !? .. Why he is playing with dignity of us the people of pakistan by destablizing the duly elected democratic govt in the name of independent judiciary

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  • Zeeeeee........
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:22PM

    @Mehran:
    Does such corrupt Govt exist any where in World???
    First reply this Plz….lolz

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  • Adnan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:50PM

    @Zeeeeee……..:
    More corrupt governments are working in the World. I hope this would answer your question. The corruption allegations against Rajiv Gandhi, ManMohan Singh, Jacque Shirak and Papandrio are few examples.

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  • mk
    Jan 18, 2012 - 1:54PM

    @Mehran:
    The ISPR said grevious consequences for the country not PM.

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