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ISI Chief Pasha Asked To Mediate Between Army, Zardari

PTI 18 Jan 2010, 11:27:21 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is said to have quietly asked the director-general of the spy agency ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to play a mediatory role in bringing the Armyand President Asif Ali Zardari together and remove their widening differences, says a report in The News, Islamabad. 

The report by Rauf Klasra said that differences between Zardari and the Army were now even threatening the whole system, particularly after a new potential row with the judiciary, which erupted last week over the appointments of judges to the Supreme Court.

The report quoting sources said Gilani has decided to involve Lt Gen Pasha to bring the volatile political situation under control, particularly after the government decided to move the Supreme Court to review its verdict on the NRO as Zardari gave a clear indication that he would not make the latest appointments on the recommendation of Pakistan's Chief Justice  Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. One source however claimed, the report said,  that all this was just a coincidence and the role of Lt Gen Pasha had nothing to do with the NRO or appointments to the SC.

The report quoting another top-level source said a couple of ministers might also be involved in this new firefighting exercise as General Pasha, who enjoys respect at the PM House, would start his efforts from Monday onward.

The report further said, Gilani had two options before him : One, to involve Defence Secretary Lt Genl (retd) Athar Ali who was General Ashfaq Kayani's batch mate  at Military Academy Kakul, Two, to use Lt Gen Pasha, who enjoyed full confidence of Gen Kayani.

Gilani has made up his mind to play a role in defusing the ongoing tug-of-war between Zardari and the Army as tension has refused to die down since the first outburst of Zardari on December 27, when he openly attacked the Army without naming it in his speech during the second death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari has continued to lash out at the army and the judiciary without naming them in his speeches during his tour of Balochistan and Punjab.

The report said the Army generals were caught off guard when Zardari did not mince his words as to who was behind the “conspiracies” to remove him from the Presidency.

The report quoting sources said the army  was not in a position to react against Zardari's strong outbursts as Gilani had already gone public reaffirming his allegiance to Zardari. Gilani's public support had actually provided the required moral ground to Zardari, the report said.