Zardari, Kayani can”t be seen as folding to India’’s demands: Pak experts

December 12th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  


New Delhi/Lahore, Dec.12 (ANI): In the wake of last months terror attacks in Mumbai, Pakistan and India are apparently in disagreement right now about the best way forward in dealing with the menace of terrorism, but according to experts, neither President Asif Ali Zardari nor Chief of Army Staff, General Asfaq Parvez Kayani can be seen to be folding to Indian demands.
According to Shuja Nawaz, the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within”, General “Kayani has a much more liberal outlook” than past Army chiefs, but adds that in the process of reforming the Army and taking it back towards its core responsibilities, he will seek to ensure that it retains a say in matters of state.
Endorsing Nawazs view, Lahore-based political analyst Ahmed Rashid says: “We are starting to see a greater cooperation between the government and the Army. It is a “fluid situation that is changing day to day.”
India’’s suspicion that in Pakistan, the Army, and not the civilian government, is running affairs of state, he says has some truth.
“The Army is still in control of foreign policy and policy with regards to India and Afghanistan. If the Army doesn”t want to do something it won”t,” the Christian Science Monitor quotes Rashid, as adding.
General Kayani is the man behind the curtain of Pakistani power, controlling an Army that has ruled for much of Pakistan’’s 61 years. Without Kayani’’s support, Zardari can do little against Lashkar-e-Toiba, the group tied to the Mumbai attacks.
Kayani has been a reformer, clipping the Army’’s interference in politics and mounting offensives against militants in Pakistan’’s tribal areas. His Army is stretched and in no mood to do Indias bidding.
Rashid says. Kayani has removed some 3,000 active and retired military personnel from civilian government posts, deactivated the political wing of the ISI and continued to subordinate the military to civilian control by allowing the disbanding of the National Security Council, an influential panel dominated by the president and the military.
“It appears that the Army is trying to retool itself and is quite happy for the civilians to make the decisions,” he says.
He (Kayani) is the product of a different mindset, says Badar Alam of the Pakistani magazine The Herald.
Kayani and his top brass are not of the generation that rose through the ranks by cultivating militant networks such as the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba to strike at Indian interests throughout the region.
“Their relationship with militants is not as strong,” Alam says.
In summing up, the CSM report says, there appears to be limits to how far the Army is willing or able to go.
It quotes Moeed Yusuf, a Pakistani military expert at Boston University, as saying: “There’’s a desire to put the house in order one by one.” (ANI)

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