The “word” on the Hill is that the Americans feel comfortable working with “Kayani-Pasha-Husain Haqqani” trio and General Kayani will stay for another year, claims a well-informed blogger.

In his most recent posting, blogger Ibrahim Sajid Malick cites his CENTCOM source to report that despite some posturing by democratically elected government of Pakistan, country’s Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will get an extension to his tenure.

Fourteenth chief of the Pakistan Army, General Kayani (55) was promoted to the rank of General in October 2007, with the title of the Vice Chief of Army Staff. Very next month (November 2007), General Kayani moved-up as the Army Chief after General Pervez Musharraf retired.

According to Malick’s source close to CENTCOM, the current Pakistani General has developed strong working relation with his American counterparts and it will be “in the best interest of the operation not to change leadership mid-stream.”

On his part, General Kayani has assured Obama administration that his army will play in their “own sandbox” and not disrupt the civilian setup, the source said.

Earlier today in Pakistan, Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had said that the PPP-led Government was not giving any extension to Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Defense Minister, however, had put a caveat to his statement: “he (Gen. Kayani) has not asked for the extension of his tenure.”

In March when a high level Pakistani delegation came to Washington for high-level talks, General Kayani was the “top dog,” who negotiated most aspects of the strategic dialogue.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani had opened a reception at the embassy declaring that General Kayani: “embodies the conviction of the Pakistani armed forces, not just to defend the frontiers of Pakistan but also to ensure the continuity of constitutional democratic rule in accordance with the aspirations of our people of Pakistan.”

Ambassador Haqqani, whose diplomatic tenure was set to expire this month has also received one year extension.

“Haqqani and Kayani are both key stakeholders and extremely valuable contacts for the American government,” the source said.

General Kayani had meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Navy Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, and other senior U.S. military officials during his visit to Washington.

“He (Kayani) had assured American leadership that his army does not plan to remove the elected government from power,” the source said.

Civilian rule returned to Pakistan in 2008 after General Pervez Musharraf resigned, but the army has not given up its dominance of key security issues.

ISI Chief Lt. General Pasha has also received extension to his tenure recently. “Pasha has worked diligently to restore confidence of American intelligence community,” the source said.

“With Kayani as head of army, Pasha leading ISI and Hussain Haqqani in Washington, we feel comfortable,” the source said.
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