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Pakistani PM rejects rumors of army, intelligence chiefs' removal

(Xinhua)

08:23, December 27, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani late on Monday rejected rumors about the removal of the country's army and intelligence chiefs and said that he was satisfied with the performance of both.

Gilani told reporters that Army Chief General Kayani had not asked for last year's extension in his tenure. General Kayani was given a three-year extension last year.

"Kayani could not be removed during wartime that is why the decision to extend his tenure was made," the Prime Minister said.

The prime minister said that he had pleaded with the Army Chief and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha for their extensions.

"It was foolish to talk about the Army Chief and DG ISI being removed," Gilani said.

Prime Minister Gilani dispelled speculations of a clash between the government and army.

The PM statement came after local media reported that the army and intelligence chiefs are on way out in the wake of a memo sent to the former American chief, seeking U.S. help to assert control over the powerful army.

The tension further increased after the army and the intelligence chiefs in their statement to the Supreme Court described the memo as a reality and called for investigation. But the Federal Government argued in the Court that the memo is incorrect and that it must be investigated.

The Prime Minister said that the alleged rift between the government and the military establishment is actually not there and assured that the political situation in the country is completely under control.

Gilani said that the memo scandal was a matter of national security and that is why he instantly referred the case to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security for investigations.

He said that he also immediately asked former ambassador in Washington Husain Haqqani, who was the man behind the memo, to resign from his post and come back to Pakistan so that proper investigations into the case can be started.

Talking about the November 26 NATO attack on Pakistani border posts which killed 24 soldiers, Gilani said that the government is waiting for the army's report.

"Once the army releases its investigations details, we will discuss the matter with all the stakeholders and decide on the future terms of relationship with the U.S.," Gilani said.

The Prime Minister also said that the initial engagement with the U.S. was decided by "just an individual after one phone call."

"Things are different now, we will decide everything after discussing the matter with everyone," Gilani stated.

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