Shahbaz and Nisar secretly meet Kayani

Published October 3, 2009

ISLAMABAD, Oct 2 The corridors of power have been abuzz with speculation since reports emerged that Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had a secret meeting with Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif last Wednesday midnight.

Sources privy to the development told Dawn here on Friday that the meeting took place on the night between Sept 30 and Oct 1 when Mr Sharif visited Rawalpindi and went to meet the army chief without security and protocol.

The sources said that only two vehicles were present at the airport and no prominent official was present to receive the chief minister when he arrived late on Wednesday night.

The sources said Mr Sharif reached the Punjab House in Rawalpindi straight from the airport, had a shower and changed. In the meantime, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan came to the Punjab House in his own vehicle and then drove away with Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

The sources said that initially no one was aware of the destination of the vehicle carrying the two leaders, but later it became known that they had gone to the Army House to see Gen Kayani.Before the general election last year, General Kayani had barred military officers from meeting politicians, but he himself crossed the red line when he met Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan in July.

There was no word about the agenda of the meeting between Gen Kayani and Shahbaz Sharif.

PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal denied that any such meeting had taken place. He even denied that the chief minister was in Rawalpindi that night. But sources at the airport and eyewitnesses in Rawalpindi are confident that Ahsan Iqbal is not telling the truth.

Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said he was not aware of any such development.

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