Pakistan army says backs democracy

Pakistan's military says backs the country's civilian leadership after leaked U.S diplomatic cables

Pakistan army says backs democracy

Pakistan's military backs the country's civilian leadership, its spokesman said on Saturday, after leaked U.S diplomatic cables highlighted the army's might in the country.

A March 12, 2009 cable by former American ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson released by WikiLeaks shows the army's influence in the nuclear-armed nation seen as vital to the United States' war against militancy.

Patterson had been meeting army chief General Ashfaq Kayani during a political crisis in which a long march planned by lawyers could have threatened President Asif Ali Zardari's government.

According to the dispatch, Kayani hinted again that he might have to persuade Zardari to resign "if the situation sharply deteriorates".

"The army has a demonstrated policy of supporting the political process within the confines of the constitution of Pakistan," said military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, in what he referred to as a response to queries about the cables.

Kayani, a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, has said he would keep the army out of politics and would support democracy.

"Kayani made it clear that regardless of how much he disliked Zardari, he distrusted Nawaz even more. The scenario Kayani hinted at was one in which he would pressure Zardari to resign (and presumably leave the country)," Patterson said in the cable.

Reuters

Last Mod: 04 Aralık 2010, 13:18
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