IRAN WATCHING CLOSELY THE SITUATION IN PAKISTAN AFTER
By IPS staff
ISLAMABAD 12th Oct (IPS) Iran
placed its armed forces on borders with Pakistan on “partial” state of alert
and expressed concern after Army Chief General Parvis Mosharraf ousted Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif in a military coup on Tuesday.
General Mosharraf’s successful military coup took
place hours only after the Islamist Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sacked him.
Mr Sharif dismissed General Musharraf when he was in Sri
Lanka and amid reports of growing differences with his army commander.
In brief a statement read hours after troops arrested Mr. Sharif and most of his ministers, Pakistan Television announced that “the government has been dismissed, adding that General Parvaiz Musharraf, who was sacked by Mr Sharif earlier in the day, would make a televised address to the nation on Tuesday night.
Quoting a senior white House official, CNN reported Tuesday from Washington that the United States was expecting General Mosharraf to make a coup, explaining that the army had been very angry with Mr. Sharif after he agreed to a cease-fire with India ending a month long artillery duel in disputed Kashmir.
The Prime Minister "retired the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Army Staff, General Musharraf, with “immediate effect", replacing him with General Khawja Ziauddin, who was promoted to full general to replace Musharraf, sources in Islamabad said. it said.
Mr. Sharif gave no reason for the sacking of General Mosharraf, whom was confirmed two weeks ago to complete his tenure as head of the army and chairman of the JCSC, until Oct 6, 2001.
Television broadcasts had been cut abruptly after Mr Sharif announced the dismissal of General Mosharraf
Sources said Mr Sharif, his brother, Shahbaz
Sharif, several ministers, the premier's military secretary and Ziauddin, the
head of the military's Inter-Services
Observers described General Mosharraf as a
liberal modern military leader who would not let the interests Pakistan collide
with US and Iran on major international and regional issues, including nuclear
proliferation, international terrorism, Afghanistan and drugs.
Here is a graphic report on the events compiled by Pakistan’s respected newspaper Dawn:
“Gen Musharraf had been on his way home by air from Colombo when the state-run television reported his sacking in a Kashmiri-language news bulletin aired at 1200 GMT. Special bulletins then followed, showing the new army chief meeting Mr Sharif at Prime Minister's House. The television and the official radio went off the air around the time Gen Musharraf landed in Karachi and met the local corps commander. Gen Musharraf's family was first restrained, but later allowed to meet him and the general was accorded a full protocol welcome. Earlier in the day, Ziauddin met Sharif, and PTV flashed pictures of one of the prime minister's military aides decorating the new army chief to mark his promotion to the rank of a four-star general. Ziauddin had recently returned from the United States after extensive meetings with the American army and intelligence officials. Reports from Washington had quoted American officials as saying that the Pakistan general had asked for US assistance to combat growing religious extremism in Pakistan.
“Gen Musharraf's tenure was to end by 2001. He was made chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) late last month to quash the rumours of growing rifts between the prime minister and the army. The forced retirement of the army chief came exactly a year after his predecessor, Gen Jehangir Karamat, resigned over his differences with Mr Sharif. Gen Musharraf's removal came a week after the naval chief, Admiral Fasih Bukhari, resigned days after Mr Sharif had extended the tenure of Gen Musharraf as chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC). Over the weekend, one of Pakistan's 10 corps commanders, Lt-Gen Tariq Parvaiz, was retired following reports of his individual meetings with politicians, as well as attempts to meet the Prime Minister, without informing the army chief.
Witnesses saw a large number of soldiers at the official residence of Information Minister Mushahid Hussain but there was no immediate word on his whereabouts.
Reacting cautiously, Iran said it is watching
“closely” and with “serious concern” the current development taking
shape in the neighbouring country of Pakistan
”Iran attaches great significance to Pakistan
and the nation hopes to see that peace and security are swiftly restored in
Pakistan”, the official news agency IRNA quoted Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iranian
Foreign Ministry’s senior spokesman. ENDS PAKISTAN COUP 121099