Zardari Meets Kayani Amid Political Crisis in Pak

Rezaul H Laskar/Islamabad
Zardari Meets Kayani Amid Political Crisis in Pak
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met today, their second meeting since the memo scandal which sparked off a tense stand-off between the civilian and military leadership.

The informal meeting between Zardari and Kayani at the presidency took place after the ceremony to award Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Military) to naval chief Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila in "recognition of his long meritorious services".

The President, who is the nominal supreme commander of Pakistan’s armed forces, came face-to-face with the powerful army chief at the reception following the ceremony.

Zardari and Kayani held informal talks on Pakistan-US relations and the country's economy during the meeting.

The two leaders discussed a parliamentary panel's recommendations for resetting Pakistan-US relations in the aftermath of last year's cross-border NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, sources said.

Zardari and Kayani also discussed the country’s economy and recent parliamentary proceedings, the sources said.

The two had earlier met on January 14, in a move seen as an attempt to resolve the tense stand-off between the government and the powerful military.

Last week's meeting, which lasted for about an hour, was the first between the two since the memo scandal triggered tense confrontation between the two sides.

That meeting was followed by another one between Zardari and Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

TV news channels today beamed footage of a smiling Zardari and Kayani shaking hands. Kayani was flanked by the navy and air force chiefs and Gen Wynne as he spoke to Zardari.
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