Pak Army chief holds separate meetings with Musharraf, Gilani

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Islamabad, Jul 26 (UNI) Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held separate meetings with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss internal security matters.

General Kayani has been frequently visiting the President's house and the Prime Minister's residence since the February 18 elections.

While officials kept the meetings secretive, local media reports said that the security environment with particular reference to situation in tribal regions and Gilani's visit to the US were the two key issues that were discussed in the meetings held here yesterday.

General Kayani had met Mr Musharraf at the Bhurban hill resort over "brunch" a few days back, and now his second call on the President has raised many eyebrows.

Recently, the General, along other military officials on Wednesday briefed the leaders of the coalition government on the security situation. The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Gilani, formulated the policy of tackling problems of militancy and extermism through dialogue, bringing the so-called military operation to a premature end.

''Obviously, the joint announcement of the civil and military leadership in Pakistan (to end the military operation ) would be a bitter pill to swallow for the Americans, who want action against the militants and extremists in tribal regions and other areas,'' The News quoted a senior official as saying.

Traditionally, the Prime Minister discusses his agenda with the President before any such important official trip, but Mr Gilani did not hold any meeting with Mr Musharraf on matters he planned to discuss with the American leaders.

Though Washington has been sending some positive signals in term of increased economic assistance to Pakistan, many see this kind of gesture as "cosmetic" because of the non-reliability of the Americans.

Many military officials from the United States visited Pakistan in the recent past and rumours have not yet died down about possible military strikes by NATO forces in tribal regions if things do not look satisfactory from the Americans' point of view.

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