Pakistan Officials: Army No Threat to New Govt

Multi-Hour Talks a 'Good Omen,' Insist Officials

by Jason Ditz, May 19, 2013

Officials from the Pakistani Muslim League-N (PML-N), the incoming government after last week’s election, have expressed optimism after a multi-hour meeting between Army Chief of Staff Gen. Parvez Kayani and incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying it was a “good omen.

Army officials echoed the sentiment, saying that despite their long-time rivalry with Sharif, the military doesn’t pose a threat to the next civilian government, and Sharif isn’t necessarily going to be deposed militarily, as he was the last two times he held the post.

At the same time, Kayani’s meeting wasn’t just a social call, and it is expected that the meeting included an in-depth discussion of the “lines” that the military won’t tolerate him crossing this time around.

This is likely to focus around India. The Sharif governments of the past have sought improved relations with their longtime regional rival, and with the Pakistani military built pretty much entirely around the notion of countering India those efforts are not just unwelcome, but considered downright treasonous by a lot of the military brass. This remains a long-term source of tension in Pakistan, though for now both sides are downplaying it.

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