* WikiLeaks reports reveal Kayani mulled ousting Zardari, backing Asfandyar for new president during March 2009 political crisis
* COAS distrusts Nawaz more than Zardari
WikiLeaks, in its latest supply of reports, revealed that Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani told former US ambassador Anne Patterson in a meeting in March 2009 that he did not want to see PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif ruling the country, according to a US embassy communiqué sent to Washington.
The ambassador had met Kayani on March 10 before the long march by lawyers on March 12 in a political crisis that threatened Zardari’s government.
“During the ambassador’s fourth meeting in a week with Kayani on March 10, he again hinted that he might, however reluctantly, have to persuade President Zardari to resign if the situation sharply deteriorates,” but revealed he had little time for Nawaz Sharif.
“This would not be a formal coup but would leave in place the PPP government led by PM Gilani, thus avoiding elections that likely would bring Nawaz Sharif to power. We do not believe army action is imminent.”
“Kayani made it clear regardless how much he disliked Zardari he distrusted Nawaz even more,” the ambassador wrote.
Kayani had also disclosed to Patterson that he wished to oust the government through a coup and banish President Zardari when the PML-N chief was busy in his movement to reinstate the judiciary. The report said that it was the fourth meeting within a week where Kayani had indicated that he would be forced to topple the government if the situation worsened. Kayani was quoted as saying that he might support Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the Awami National Party, as the new president – not Zardari’s arch-nemesis Nawaz Sharif. He added that PM Gilani would continue to remain as the prime minister of the country. Patterson, in the communiqué, stated that it would not be a formal revolt, as Zardari’s party would still be leading the government.
Kayani told Patterson that authorities in the army had concerns over Zardari for he was considered corrupt and ignorant of the challenges pertaining to the economy and security of the country. The US envoy said that the army chief had not informed the president directly about his concerns, as he wanted to avoid confrontation. Agencies/DT