Shouldn’t General Kayani step down? -by Yousuf Nazar

I have followed the VikiLeaks revelations relating to Pakistan with a yawn but was amused by how papers like the Jang, the News, the Express Tribune, the Nation, and some others rushed to print and splashed agencies’ planted material across their front pages even when the source was questionable and had dubious credentials to say the least. Some of these newspapers are so lazy that they have been publishing foreign news wire (e.g. AFP)  reports covering the visit of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao to Pakistan.

There was hardly anything earth shaking in the cables of the US Embassy in Islamabad. For me personally, it was a vindication of the views I have expressed in the last four years. It is hardly a revelation that Zardari sought support from Americans. He has done so publicly, I have to add, without any shame.  But the pains taken by Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Diesel  to position themselves as ’pro-American’  and offer their good services are hilarious.

For those who have been shouting ‘this is our war’, the truth may been a wake up call. It is Pakistani establishment’s double game. So if Pakistanis want to root out extremism, they must fight the military establishment for outsourcing the so-called defence of Pakistan to criminal militias of all colors and shades.

The “experts” like Gen (rtd). Talat Masood and Prof. H. A. Rizvi should probably retire and anchors like Shahid Masood should leave journalism. But then this is our great ‘land of the pure’. If the politicians and the generals have no principles or self-respect, the experts and some of the ‘media stars’ are no different.

But I want to discuss the role of the top Army leadership. The defenders of Pakistan’s ‘territorial and ideological’ frontiers have been meeting the US Viceroy in Pakistan on regular basis and discussing domestic politics and their secret meetings with Israelis among other matters.

The most disappointing revelation was not how General Kayani has been deeply involved in domestic politics but how closely he had been interacting with the US Ambassador, seeking her views, and in effect, secure her blessings.

Please read the following excerpt from a cable dated March 12, 2009 sent by Ambassador Anne Patterson:

“During Ambassador’s fourth meeting in a week with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani on March 10, he again hinted that he might, however reluctantly, have to persuade President Zardari to resign if the situation sharply deteriorates. He mentioned Asfundyar Wali Khan as a possible replacement. This would not be a formal coup but would leave in place the PPP government led by PM Gilani, thus avoiding elections that likely would bring Nawaz Sharif to power. We do not believe Army action is imminent. We do believe Kayani was laying down a clear marker so that, if he has to act, he can say he warned the U.S. in advance and gave us ample opportunities to pressure both sides to back down. Kayani is trying to leverage what he considers predominate U.S. influence over Zardari, instead of seeking a direct confrontation that could provoke an unhelpful civil-military clash.”

That our Army chief met four times during one week with the American envoy to discuss the issue of the reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry and political confrontation that erupted between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif following the former’s schemes to disqualify him would have been enough in some other country as a reason enough for the Army Chief to step down. But not in this land of “Allah, America, and Army.” Kayani was sounding out the US if it would be ok to dislodge Zardari and replace him with Afsandyar. He obviously did not get a green signal because Zardari is still very much there and most likely will be around till the US Viceroy signals otherwise to the GHQ.

Source: State of Pakistan



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