COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.—File photo

ISLAMABAD: The military's public affairs wing denied on Monday that Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had suggested that the country had been mortgaged to the US.

“The entire statement is fabricated with malicious intent. COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani never said that Pakistan had mortgaged itself to the US,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas said while commenting on a New York Times report.

The NYT, in a June 15 report titled 'Pakistan's chief of army fights to keep his job', had claimed on the basis of notes of a participant of a session at the National Defence University addressed by Gen Kayani that the army chief had acknowledged that the country had mortgaged itself to the US. The participant was not identified in the news report.

“In making the analogy to Pakistan as a mortgaged house, Gen Kayani said that if a person gave his house against a loan and was unable to pay back the loan, the mortgage holder would intervene,” the report said.

It went on to quote Gen Kayani as having said: “We are helpless… Can we fight America?”

After the May 2 US raid in Abbottabad, Gen Kayani held a number of town-hall style meetings with army officers in garrisons, trying to allay their concerns about the country's alliance with the United States in the fight against militancy. His address at the NDU was the last of such meetings.

There has been a flurry of reports in US media casting the military in a negative light by questioning its sincerity in the fight against militancy. The NYT story, which sought to project Gen Kayani as a weakened commander struggling to keep control over his ranks, is seen by ISPR as a continuation of the campaign against the army.

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