Wikileaks Bombshell - Latest Information about Pakistan - III
Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, considered pushing President Asif Ali Zardari from office and forcing him into exile to resolve a political dispute, the US embassy cables reveal.
Kayani aired the idea during a frantic round of meetings with the US ambassador Anne Patterson in March 2009 as opposition leader Nawaz Sharif rallied thousands of supporters in a street movement that threatened to topple the government.
Kayani said that while he disliked Zardari, he distrusted Sharif even more, and appeared to be angling for a solution that would prevent the opposition leader from coming to power.
The cable illustrates the strong behind-the-scenes hand of Pakistan's military in civilian politics only six months after the last military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, resigned.
But some dispatches make it clear that the Americans do wield great clout. After General Pervez Musharraf resigned as president in 2008, ambassador Patterson pressed Zardari to grant him immunity from prosecution. "We believed, as we had often said, that Musharraf should have a dignified retirement and not be hounded out of the country," she said.
(for original cable, click here)
NUCLEAR SAFETY ISSUES
WikiLeaks cables expose Pakistan nuclear fears: Guardian
US diplomats in Islamabad were told Pakistan was working on producing smaller, tactical nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield against Indian troops. "The result of this trend is the need for greater stocks of fissile material … Strategic considerations point Pakistan in the direction of a larger nuclear force that requires a greater amount of fissile material, Pakistani officials argue."
The US conducted its own secret analysis of India's military contingency plans, which are codenamed Cold Start. India has said that if sufficiently provoked, it would mount a rapid invasion of Pakistan.
The US said in a cable that it doubted the Indian army was capable of doing so: "It is the collective judgment of the mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement."