Get your act together, army chief Kayani tells ZardariMarch 10th, 2009 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS
Islamabad, March 9 (IANS) Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has reportedly asked President Asif Ali Zardari to get his act together in view of the deteriorating political and security situation in the country, media reports said Monday, as former president Pervez Musharraf has thrown his full weight behind the military.
“Pakistan’s deteriorating political situation has activated the previously very low-profile Kayani,” Asia Times Online said, adding that the situation in Pakistan is “fast becoming untenable”.
“The ongoing strife in the country, with militants and Al Qaeda steadily gaining ground in the tribal areas, and the government busy settling scores with opposition parties and civil society, has compelled Washington and its prime contractor in the region, the Pakistan military, to rewrite the political scenario,” the report said.
The Pakistani Army and the government did not immediately comment on the report.
On his part, Musharraf was unequivocal in his support of the army and spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
“I want to tell you that you should support the army and the ISI to the hilt. They are the centre of gravity in Pakistan,” the former president said at a press conference in Karachi on his return from New Delhi after attending an international conclave.
Kayani, during his just-concluded visit to the US is said to have been told that Washington was unhappy with the growing distance between Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif of the principal opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the peace deals with militants in the country’s restive northwest.
Sharif said Monday he was betrayed by Zardari, and urged the people to get ready for a “revolution” in the country, Geo TV reported.
Addressing a rally in Jehlum in Punjab province, Sharif said he had shaken hands with Zardari with sincerity and greater hopes, but the president had backstabbed him and the nation.
Zaradari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-N had formed a coalition after emerging as the two largest parties in the February 2008 general elections.
They fell out after Zardari reneged on a number of promises, including one to reinstate the Supreme Court and High Court judges Musharraf had sacked after declaring an emergency in November 2007.
This apart, Sharif has accused Zardari of engineering last month’s Supreme Court verdict barring him and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from contesting elections on corruption charges.
The verdict also saw the collapse of Shahbaz Sharif’s Punjab provincial government, a move the elder Sharif says would see a PPP-led government installed in its place. The PPP was the junior partner in the Punjab coalition.
This apart, the US is known to be extremely upset over a deal between the North West Frontier Province government and radical cleric Maulana Mohammad Sufi for imposing Sharit laws in seven districts, including the Swat Valley, of the province.
In return, the Taliban that controls the area would lay down its arms.
The US sees this as bowing to the Taliban.
On Monday, the Pakistan government signed another peace deal with the Mamond tribe in the Bajaur Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
The Manmond is one of the three main tribes in the Agency that lies along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. It had hitherto been aligned with the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and against which the Pakistani Army has been conducting sustained operations in coordination with the Pakistan Air Force to stamp out militancy.
The US forces in Afghanistan have also been staging repeated Predator raids against the militants in the area.
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