Sethi says Kayani to visit US; army denies

Defence secretary is preparing a tentative agenda for the army chief’s visit.

Kamran Yousaf/sumera Khan July 17, 2012


An awkward disconnect between civil and military authorities came to light on Monday, in relation to planned meetings in the US, with whom relations are just beginning to thaw.

Moments after Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi announced that the army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani would visit the US as part of the strategic dialogue, military sources rubbished the defence secretary’s claim.

Talking to the media after attending a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence, Sethi revealed that, even though the exact details of the army chief’s visit had yet to be finalised, a tentative agenda was being prepared in consultation with all the concerned ministries. However, military sources requesting anonymity, denied the report, saying Gen. Kayani had no plan to participate in the strategic dialogue in Washington.

In addition, Sethi said that two Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) will be signed between the US and Pakistan, including one on the Nato supply routes, during the strategic dialogue, adding that the ministry of defence had been given authorisation to sign the MoUs.

Anti-Terrorism Act

In a bid to make anti-terrorism laws punitive enough to tackle terrorists, the ministry of defence, in collaboration with all the stakeholders, is preparing a draft to amend the Anti-Terrorism Act, Sethi said, adding that the draft would soon be presented in parliament and its concerned committees on defence and law.

Responding to a question, Sethi said was unaware of the release schedule of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) payments, but was hopeful that it would released soon after the resumption of bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan.

However, sources in the defence ministry said, “A legal deal to shape cooperation in the war against terror is on top of the agenda for the strategic dialogue, but the army chief would take up the issue of CSF forcefully, with the Americans subjecting it to further cooperation from the Pakistani side.”

Earlier, Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence met to discuss a range of issues pertaining to national security, strengthening civil and military relations and regional security.

Chairman of the committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed unveiled the future plan of action of the committee and said it would hold meetings with the three services of the armed forces to develop a national counter-terror strategy.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.


Polpot | 9 years ago | Reply

@Khalild Mahmood: "As long as the Government remains incompetent the Army would continue to have its say." +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ And the Govt.'s performance appraisal will only be done by the Army:)!

VINOD | 9 years ago | Reply

@gp65:You have said "Military strategy can and should be discussed with defence minister. Generals would be in charge if there was an actual war. This is how it would be in most places in the world. Pakistan is unique of course." Sir, Generals are never in charge of a war; they are in-charge of battles. Wars are waged by countries to achieve their political aims and In charge of a war is the civil head of the state and not generals. Generals fight battles to achieve the task laid by the civil governments all over the world. American army is fighting in Afghanistan on directions of President Obama.

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