Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani on Thursday discussed vital issues pertaining to national security and resolved that Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders would work jointly to safeguard the country from internal and external security threats.
“The chief of the army staff called on the prime minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. During the meeting, the overall security situation of the country and matters relating to national security came under discussion,” said a brief statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office.
An official privy to top-level talks on condition of anonymity said the army chief, in his first formal interaction with the prime minister after he assumed office, gave a detailed briefing about the security challenges that Pakistan was confronting at the moment, both internally and on the borders.
General Kayani had also held a three-hour meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz in Lahore after the PML-N head won the general elections.
In his meeting with the premier on Thursday, the COAS said the army was ready and all prepared to face both internal and external security challenges.
The official said Nawaz and General Kayani thoroughly discussed the problem of militancy and terrorism in the country’s Tribal Areas.
“It was the resolve of two that those elements who are bent upon destroying the fabric of Pakistani society would be dealt with sternly,” the official said.
He said Nawaz also told the army chief about his government’s plan to hold peace dialogue with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Hakimullah Mehsud.
The prime minister, he said, was of the view that those, who wanted to hold dialogue with the government, would be given an opportunity to do that but those who refused to shun violence against the state would be taken to task.
The official said General Kayani reiterated the army’s support for strengthening of democracy, saying genuine democracy could steer the country out of grave problems it was confronting.
He said the prime minister also discussed the issue of drone strikes with the army chief during their meeting and it was decided that Pakistan would raise that contentious issue with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who would visit Islamabad by the end of this month.
The official said the Nawaz government was expected to tell the US secretary of state that it would take an action on its own for the elimination of terrorists’ hideouts in the tribal regions and the Washington must stop drone strikes.
Meanwhile, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt also called on the prime minister. “The air chief briefed him about professional matters relating to the Pakistan Air Force,” an official statement added.