Zardari, Gilani, Kayani discuss secret memo to US


Islamabad : A secret memo to Washington that claims Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup came up for discussion at a meeting here between the Pakistani president, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, a media report said Thursday.

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Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani American businessman, has made the startling claim that a senior Pakistani diplomat asked for help in getting a message from Zardari to Admiral Mike Mullen, who was then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He alleged that Zardari feared a military takeover after US commandos killed Al Qaeda Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 2.

The News International said Zardari, Gilani and Kayani Wednesday met at the presidency that presumably focused on US-Pakistan ties and the memo that was sent to Mullen.

Presidential Spokesman Farhatullah Babar’s two-line announcement said Gilani called on President Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr Wednesday night. It added Kayani was also present during the meeting, at which the current security situation in the country was discussed.

A day earlier, Kayani had met Zardari, during which the memo was reportedly discussed.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani has been summoned to Islamabad for a briefing on the issue.

Gilani told the National Assembly that Ambassador Haqqani had been summoned to Islamabad.

“Whether he is an ambassador or not, he (Haqqani) has to come and explain the issue to the leadership,” he told parliamentarians.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said Wednesday that there was no substance in rumours about the differences between civil and military leaderships.

“There is complete harmony and civil and military leaderships are on the same page on all national issues,” Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Awan as saying.

On Tuesday’s meeting between Zardari and Kayani, she said that whenever the top civil and military leaders meet, they discuss issues related to national interest and deliberate over matters for further strengthening of institutions in the country.

On summoning of Haqqani to Islamabad, she said that ambassadors were summoned now and then and it was a routine matter.

“Our relations with the United States have witnessed many ups and downs in the recent past and he has been summoned to discuss all issues related to bilateral ties,” the minister said.