Zardari, Kayani discuss law and order

March 8, 2013 at 1:14 AM
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ISLAMABAD, March 8 (UPI) -- Pakistan's army chief urged President Asif Ali Zardari to take urgent steps to tackle the country's worsening law and order situation, sources told Dawn.

Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met with Zardari after his conference with his corps commander to review Pakistan's internal security, the newspaper reported Friday.

The report said Kayani conveyed to Zardari the military's concerns about the rapidly deteriorating law and order and urged for immediate steps to deal with the issue, the newspaper said.

In addition to escalating military violence by the Pakistani Taliban and other groups, Pakistan also continues to be wracked by deadly sectarian, political and ethnic violence, including attacks on minority Shiite Muslims that have killed hundreds of people in recent months.

Amid the spate of violence and a tough economic situation, the country also must hold general elections by May as the Zardari's democratically elected government will complete a full five-year team in March for the first time.

The Pakistani military establishment, seen by its critics as the most powerful entity in the country, has given several assurances this time that it has no intention of interfering in the coming elections. Kayani is recent weeks has said the army had stayed out of politics in the past five years of the civilian government.

Details of the Zardari-Kayani meeting were not available except a brief statement from the president's office that the "security situation was discussed during the meeting," Dawn said.

However, sources told the newspaper Kayani communicated to Zardari the disquiet among his commanders about the security situation spiraling out of control.

The sources told Dawn their talks also involved the recent anti-Shiite and other acts of violence in Quetta and Karachi and an operation against the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.

Kayani also spoke about improper and inefficient utilization of law enforcement agencies by the federal and provincial governments in dealing with terrorism, the report said. He reportedly stressed the army's commitment to support the civilian law-enforcement agencies if sought by the government. However, Dawn said, with the approaching elections, the Zardari government is not keen to give the army any major role in internal security.

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