Commanders meet today


ISLAMABAD: Top army generals have a full plate when they convene for the corps commanders’ conference on Wednesday at the General Headquarters. The meeting is taking place amidst extraordinary developments both in the country and outside that affect national security. The corps commanders’ conference coincides with a specialsession of the cabinet in Karachi on the law and order situation.The government appears to be ready for an operation in the port city which will be executed through civilian law enforcement agencies.

The army has been asked to monitor the crackdown and provide intelligence support to law enforcement agencies through its intelligence outfits.

The other crucial issue before the military top brass will be that of the government’s planned dialogue with religious militants.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had in his independence anniversary speech at the PMA Kakul called for a national consensus against terrorism and warned against surrendering before militants.

The government had since Aug 22 meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet more staunchly advocated talks with militants who are blamed for about 50,000 deaths in the country over the past decade.

The government has reportedly opened an informal channel with militants to coax them into talking. Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan says that formal dialogue would commence only after getting a nod from other political parties.

The weekend attack which killed nine troops in Boya (North Waziristan) has put militants’ sincerity towards dialogue under question.

A cabinet committee on national security, with representation from all services, has been constituted as the apex body on security matters. Its first task is to prepare a national security policy from which foreign, defence, security and related policies would flow.

Calm has returned to the Line of Control after a fortnight of Indian shelling in which three Pakistani soldiers and two civilians lost their lives, but generals will ponder over wider implications of attacks for bilateral ties.

The army chief visited troops deployed on the LoC on Tuesday. This was his first visit to the troops at forward positions on the LoC since skirmishes erupted last month.

A military spokesman said Gen Kayani showed complete satisfaction on the state of morale, operational preparedness and vigil being maintained by troops on the front line.