Kayani says he will follow govt’s call


ISLAMABAD – Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani on Saturday said the government will decide when to launch a military operation in North Waziristan Agency, saying that it had to be decided politically, not militarily.
“It’s not for the army to decide when to launch the military operation in North Waziristan… it will have to be a political decision,” the COAS said in a brief chat with journalists at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in honour of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
The army chief’s statement is in sharp contrast to the assertions of the US officials who, in their interactions with Pakistani media, always say it is for the Pakistan Army to decide the timing of the operation in North Waziristan.
General Kayani, however, made it clear that the army would follow and implement the government’s decision. A military operation in North Waziristan has been the bone of contention between Washington and Islamabad for months now with the Obama administration asking for immediate launch of the offensive but Pakistani authorities reluctant to go for it because of the army’s preoccupation with flood-relief activities and military engagements with militants in other Tribal Areas.
About Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement suggesting his impatience over Pakistan’s inability to clear its border regions of terrorists, Kayani said the statement was misinterpreted as the top American military official had talked about the “strategic impatience”. It had not meant that the Obama administration was losing patience owing to Pakistan’s failure to launch the operation in North Waziristan.