As Zardari-Gilani rift widens, US says restore Durrani as NSA

January 9th, 2009 - 2:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 9 (IANS) The US has asked Pakistan to withdraw the sacking orders of Mahmood Durrani as national security advisor, a move that laid bare the widening gulf between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the lack of coherence in tackling crucial issues like the Mumbai attack probe.The issue has snowballed with officials disclosing that US Ambassador Anne Peterson Thursday night met Zardari and Gilani at the presidency and “insisted on withdrawing dismissal orders of Durrani”.

“Where’s the government and who’s running it? What type of government do we have? Where are the decisions being taken?” asked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Hanif Abbasi, two days after Gilani sacked Durrani for not consulting him before announcing that the sole Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani citizen.

Gilani has been quoted as saying that Durrani did not take him into confidence before making the announcement in a media interview. Further muddying the waters, sources close to Durrani told IANS he had discussed the matter with Zardari, who allowed him to go ahead with the announcement.

As Abbasi sees it, the differences between the two top offices are obvious and there was no coherence in governance with everyone wanting to run the government in his own style.

The leader, however, added it was unfortunate that the NSA had given the news through the international media.

Discussing the many manifestations of the escalating controversy, defense analyst Lt-Gen Talat Masood said the government needed to be very careful in such a situation. “We really should conduct transparent investigations into the (Mumbai) incident.”

He was of the view that there was nothing to worry about if Ajmal Kasab belonged to Pakistan and the government should respond to it positively but after “putting its own house in order”.

Citing the India example, Masood said Indian leaders Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were killed by their own citizens. “If there are unruly people in Pakistan we should expose them,” Masood told IANS.

Lt-Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi added that security advisors are not supposed to give public statements as it’s a very sensitive position.

Referring to the meeting of the US ambassador with the president and prime minister, he told a TV channel: “This shows that he (Durrani) was their man and who knows how many others have been planted by them.”

Jamat-e-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed echoed the view. “It is nothing short of a shameful act that the PM and the president have met with the US envoy to note dictation from US,” Ahmed told IANS.

He said that the meeting undermined national respect as the US envoy should have met his counterpart to inform of the US stance over any issue. “Instead, he gave virtual dictation to our president and prime minister.”

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