A series of political and strategic blunders by former president Gen Pervez Musharraf had given the cause and justification to both Asif Ali Zardari and new army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to work separately for his “honourable exit”, a couple of freshly released WikiLeaks cables reveal.

In two separate cables written by the-then US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne W. Patterson, details have been given about how the new army chief, General Kayani, and leader of the majority party in the new National Assembly, Asif Zardari, had systematically started to distance themselves from President Musharraf.

In a “brief” and “talking points” prepared for Admiral Mike Mullen during his early 2008 visit to Pakistan, ambassador Patterson states: “As expected, (Gen) Kayani is taking slow but deliberate steps to distance the Army from now civilian President Musharraf”.

She then goes on to say that Kayani has announced that army “generals would need his permission to meet the President”, which was a move apparently aimed at denying the beleaguered former military ruler from lobbying for his further extension as head of state.

In a separate cable about a meeting of US Representatives, Adam Schiff and Allyson Schwartz, with Mr Zardari in May 2008, the American ambassador has given details of how the PPP co-chairman (who later became president) advocated for an “honourable exit” of President Musharraf.

According to the cable, “Zardari blamed President Musharraf for not taking enough responsibility for the ‘war on terrorism’ in Pakistan”, which resulted in a marked increase in anti-American sentiments in the country.

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