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Monday, January 21, 2008

Gen Kayani’s name echoes in House of Commons
By By Rauf Klasra 1/20/2008
LONDON: The name of Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has echoed in the House of Commons during a debate on the current war on terror in Pakistan and some MPs hope that the Army may be kept out of politics under his tenure.During a heated debate on the prevalent situation in Pakistan, one member of the Lower House even termed Gen Kayani as the "only possible opportunity", who in a few months might help bring full democracy in Pakistan by taking the Army out of politics.Gen Kayani's directive last week to the military and secret agencies not to interact with politicians has also been received warmly in the political and democratic circles of Britain.Earlier, last week when the debate on terrorism started, MP Keith Simpson stood up to discuss the future role of Gen Kayani in ensuring return of full democracy in Pakistan.He said: "We need to think far more in terms of the lengthy discussions that our military commanders and political advisers have been having in Afghanistan with President Karzai and his government. I know the government has been working hard on that. We must attempt to persuade the Pakistanis to do things that are not only in their national interests but in our interests too, which is not easy."Then he went on to say: "Pakistani armed forces are the key; it is no good pretending that we can ignore them. I see one possible opportunity in the next few months that might help with the move back to democracy -- the role of the new Chief of the Army Staff in Pakistan, Gen Kayani."Paying him tributes, Keith said, Gen Kayani has tremendous experience of the west, and is more in the tradition of a military professional."I think that he recognises that the Pakistani Army has to get out of politics, not only because he has seen the damage that has been done, but because he believes the Pakistani armed forces have been humiliated by what has happened in the north-west frontier."Another MP in his speech asked what action can the British government take to give political military assistance to the Pakistani authorities‚ both the political government and the military and security services‚ to be most effective against terrorism? He said the minister for Middle East must also consider the wider national security problem of coping with the blowback from terrorism in the UK.

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