Kayani "most powerful man in Pakistan" despite civilian govt's presence: Pak editorial

Islamabad, Dec 2 (ANI): Even in the presence of a civilian government in Pakistan, Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is the "most powerful" man in the country, a Pakistani newspaper's editorial has said.

"It is an open secret that Pakistan's military establishment wields great power even when a civilian government is in place," the Daily Times editorial said.

"Right now, General Kayani is the most powerful man in the country and has positioned himself as the sole person to negotiate with as far as our foreign interlocutors are concerned but it is time that democracy is allowed to take root in the country so that the civil-military relations are put in a proper perspective," it maintained.

Taking notice of the latest WikiLeaks releases, it said that some new revelations about the power equation in Pakistan were not just interesting but quite revealing.

According to one of the leaked cables, Kayani hinted that he might have to "persuade President Zardari to resign if the situation sharply deteriorates... This would not be a formal coup but would leave in place the PPP government led by PM Gilani, thus avoiding elections that likely would bring Nawaz Sharif to power."

Jasmine Zerinini, the head of France's interagency Afghanistan-Pakistan cell, was of the view that though General Kayani has "learned the lesson of Musharraf" and was not interested in a direct military coup, he was manipulating the government and parliament.

He alleged that Kayani stirred up the "controversy regarding the Kerry-Lugar bill that ties continued US aid to increased civilian control of the military".

As per the cable, "Zerinini said that bilateral measures alone to strengthen civilian government were unlikely to be effective, and that more coordination was needed among donors" and the Friends of Democratic Pakistan "was designed to transform Pakistan's political elite and give them more leverage over the military".

This shows that the West is now interested in strengthening our democratic dispensation, the editorial said, adding that it may be due to the fact that "our security establishment continues to support the Afghan Taliban and other terrorist networks despite Pakistan being a frontline ally of the US in the war on terror." (ANI)

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