ISLAMABAD, Dec 5: Former chief of army staff General (retired) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani may have called it a day but he is still in the line of fire.
Indeed, security threats have forced the former army chief to abandon his newly built retirement home and opt for living near the heavily guarded army house.
While he was still in service, General Kayani planned to spend his retired life in Islamabad’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) where he constructed a house with a grey stone finish at a scenic location in Phase 1.
Perched on a corner plot, the house continues to stand apart in the housing colony. Its terraced gardens slope down to the River Soan. The plot in front remains vacant.
However, security experts felt that the house was a security threat because it was impossible to protect the rear end of the house (where the land sloped down to the river).
Although, the house has close circuit television (CCTV) for monitoring the security of the house but this was deemed insufficient.
Consequently, Gen Kayani, months before his retirement, started constructing a new house in the heavily guarded and secure neighbourhood of the Army House, a retired army officer living in the same area claims.
According to him, it was chance that a piece of land was lying vacant near the official residence of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC).
However, the retired officer added that some quarters of low level (Class IV) or conservancy staff were there but after the four kanal of land were allotted to Gen Kayani, these quarters have been relocated.
Currently, the house is under construction. Some people suggest that the house may be ready in a couple of months.
It is also being said that Gen Kayani may stay in the army house till the completion of his new house; in case he needs to move, he will shift into the army guest house which is also situated in the same locality.
In his newly adopted neighbourhood, Gen Kayani will enjoy the company of dozens of retired Generals including two former army chiefs — General (retired) Mirza Aslam Baig and General (retired) Abdul Waheed Kakar.
These are not the only properties that the retired COAS is said to own.
Sources in the Military Estate Office (MEO) said he also owns a two kanal piece of land in the army’s officer colony of National Stadium Karachi (NSK) where about 100 army officers own property.
The value of the NSK plots may be gauged by the fact that soon after this land was allotted in February 2006, former director general of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha sold it for Rs23 million.
Other military officials who own land here include other big names such as Gen Ehsanul Haq, Nadeem Taj, Gen Syed Ehtasham Zamir, Nadeem Ahmed, and Syed Ather Ali.
Dawn has learnt that the land on which the National Stadium Karachi is located was acquired from some local residents for defence purpose during World War II.
After the war, the land was converted into army barracks but the original owners are still interested in possessing this property which was used to build the National Stadium in the mid 50s. They have pursued the issue in the courts.
The military spokesman did not comment on the matter.
Brigadier (retired) Amjad Kayani, a brother of Gen Kayani, when contacted said that his brother needed a secure house to live in.