CSM claims Kayani reversing Musharraf's military-related policies

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Washington, Feb.6 : Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, has "begun to systematically reverse some of the most significant policies of his predecessor, President Pervez Musharraf."

According to a Christian Science Monitor (CSM) report, evidence of this change can be seen in the "reversal" two key directives -- prohibiting soldiers from meeting with politicians and ordering all active officers who hold posts in civilian agencies to resign from those positions.

Those orders contrast starkly with those promoted by Musharraf when he was army chief, the Daily Times says.

The newspaper sees these steps as an indication that General Kayani is taking his Army in the direction that the United States had hoped he would - to refocus officers on the task of securing the country from terrorists, rather than playing politics or vying for public perks.

"The shift is welcome in Pakistan, too, where the interference of the military into public life was seen as reaching new heights under Musharraf, and the Army - long revered as Pakistan's bulwark - was falling into disrepute," says the paper.

In recent weeks, dozens of retired military officers - including a former Army chief and several war heroes - sent an open letter to Musharraf asking him to resign as president.

They argued that his continued presence in politics was hindering the nation.

"Under Musharraf, military officers were installed in many influential civilian posts, alienating Pakistanis, who saw this as an abuse of power. By recalling these people, Kayani is sending 'a very strong message'," the newspaper quoted one Pakistani analyst, as saying.

There is a perception that there will be widespread rigging of the February 18 parliamentary elections with the military's aid or consent - to prop up Musharraf's political allies.

General Kayani's political directive is intended to counter that fear, experts say.

ANI

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