Islamabad, Aug 12: Pakistan Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was considered as a close confidant of President Pervez Musharraf till being appointed in the top Army post, has reportedly conveyed to his mentor that the military (under him) did not want to be dragged into any political controversy, and that it preferred to remain focused on its 'professional and constitutional responsibilities'.
According to a source close to Kayani and having strong connections in the Pakistan military circles, Gen. Kayani did not want to spoil the efforts he had initiated soon after becoming the Army Chief to redeem the lost respect of the Army. The source said that the President was clearly conveyed that the impeachment issue should remain an affair between Musharraf and his political foes, reported sources.
However, Army spokesman and ISPR Director-General Maj-Gen. Athar Abbas said he would not like to speculate on this as he did not have any knowledge of such a communication. The source, who is also known to both the President and the Army Chief, said on the basis of his personal knowledge and experience Gen. Kayani was a highly professional soldier, who despite his long association with Musharraf would never like to offer him the kind of support that the retired general would be expecting from his previous institution.
The source confirmed an earlier report that President Musharraf was extremely unhappy with Gen. Kayani for keeping the Pakistan Army and the ISI away from manipulating the last general elections.
The President, the source added, was all set to remove the present Army chief and replace him with a compliant general but he could not do that.
He said President Musharraf was told by a friend that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could not remove him while he was in the air in 1999 so how could he think of removing an Army Chief, who is very much on the ground and has done extremely well to redeem the respect of the institution.
Meanwhile, the ISI, which has been involved in dirty politics during the last eight years to strengthen Musharraf, is also maintaining as a silent spectator. Although, ISI Director-General Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, who is said to be a distant cousin of Musharraf, has been very close to the President, but sources said that being a member of the disciplined force he, too, could not go beyond the limits set by the Army chief.
The paper quoted an ISI official as saying that the intelligence agency was not using its muscles to influence the ongoing impeachment move in any manner.
The source said the ISI's political role has been checked tremendously during the last several months and the clear proof of this was the Monday, Feb 18 elections. "Have you heard anything in all these months of the ISI's usual political manoeuvres and background pressures," the source added.