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May 19, 2013

ISI chief also wants to meet Nawaz Sharif

World

AFP
May 19, 2013

ISLAMABAD: After army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s meeting with Nawaz Sharif on Saturday, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam also aspires to meet the political leader and invite him to visit the ISI’s headquarters for a detailed briefing.
Informed sources said Gen. Zaheer was keen to hold a detailed in-camera briefing for the next prime minister, if possible towards the end of the current month.
These sources said the ISI wants to brief the next prime minister about security issues, challenges faced by Pakistan and the role of the premier intelligence agency in countering the security threats facing Pakistan.
As against the unconfirmed fears of the army about the future military-Nawaz relations, the defence sources said the establishment had no apprehensions in regard to Nawaz Sharif who is widely considered even within the army circles as a patriotic politician.
These sources said the establishment intends to extend all possible support to the Nawaz Sharif government, particularly to his efforts to address the security challenges faced by Pakistan, whether internal or international.
“The ISI wants to share with the next prime minister the evidence of how Pakistan is being targeted,” one of these sources said, adding that the next prime minister would also be shown the proof of who is doing what against Pakistan.
On Saturday, the army chief met the Sharif brothers at the Model Town residence of Shahbaz Sharif. The meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Gen. Kayani was seen by many as critically important to brush aside the past propaganda of certain quarters about the future Nawaz-military relations.
Although Shahbaz Sharif has been meeting the army chief during the last five years, Nawaz Sharif never held any such meeting with Kayani before.
It is said Gen. Kayani’s initiative of meeting Nawaz Sharif would help develop a comfortable working relationship between the next prime minister and the military establishment.
Nawaz

Sharif, who has bitter experiences with the past military establishment, particularly General (retd) Pervez Musharraf who had unconstitutionally removed his government in Oct 1999 by imposing martial law, has however always spoken positively of General Kayani for his apolitical role and his efforts to support democracy.
Nawaz Sharif and his party have some complaints about former Director General of ISI Lt. Gen. (retd) Shuja Pasha and his alleged backing to the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, but in a recent television interview the PML-N chief said he and his party had no complaints against the agency’s incumbent DG Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam.
However, it is yet to be seen how the Nawaz Sharif government and the army chief converge on an agreed strategy to deal with the issue of terrorism after the latter’s recent statement on talks of a military solution, but the next premier clearly supports the strategy of dialogue with the local Taliban.
Nawaz Sharif has recently said he would talk to all concerned including the military while devising his government’s strategy to address the issue of terrorism and extremism.
The issue concerning the trial of General (retd) Musharraf is simple for Nawaz Sharif, who believes the former dictator deserves to be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution. The army chief has not yet spoken on the issue, but it is said there are many in the army who won’t be comfortable to see Gen Musharraf meeting this fate.
Talking to this correspondent, a senior military source though cursed Musharraf for returning to Pakistan despite the military’s advice to stay abroad, said that the way Musharraf was dragged from one court to the other disturbs the lower cadres and soldiers.
“We think he should not be humiliated,” the source said, adding that without public humiliation if Musharraf is tried for his wrongs and justice appears to have been done there would be no problem with others.