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Kayani calls for steps to end Pakistan turmoil

world Updated: Mar 09, 2013 00:43 IST

The Pakistan army's concerns about rapidly deteriorating law and order across the country have been conveyed to President Asif Ali Zardari by army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has called for urgent steps to deal with the situation.

Kayani told Zardari about the military's concerns on Thursday shortly after he chaired a meeting of the army’s corps commanders.

During the conference, the army's top brass reviewed the internal security situation in the wake of a series of devastating terror attacks against Shias in Quetta and Karachi that killed nearly 250 people.

Kayani met Zardari to "communicate the disquiet among his commanders about the security situation spiralling out of control", the Dawn newspaper quoted its sources as saying.

He expressed concern over the "rapidly deteriorating" situation and sought "urgent steps" to deal with the issue.

A brief statement issued by the presidency only said Kayani and Zardari had discussed the security situation but
did not give details.

Reports in several Pakistani dailies said the army chief used the meeting to tell Zardari about the concerns of his commanders over the worsening law and order situation in Karachi, the country’s financial hub.

On Wednesday, Kayani had visited Karachi to assess the situation in the city where sectarian attacks on the minority Shia sect have added a new dimension to the continuing violence that has claimed scores of lives since last year.

Media reports said that during his meeting with Zardari, Kayani discussed the recent attacks on Shias in Quetta and Karachi and an operation against the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Kayani spoke about the "improper and inefficient" use of civilian law enforcement agencies by the federal and provincial governments in dealing with terrorism, the Dawn quoted sources in the presidency as saying.

In the past too, Kayani has publicly expressed concern at the poor performance of law enforcement agencies.

The army chief pointed to the "existence of militant wings of certain political parties and connections of some parties with terrorist groups as a major contributing factor to the wave of violence that has gripped" Pakistan, the Dawn reported.

Kayani reportedly reiterated the army's commitment to fully support civilian law enforcement agencies if asked to do so by the government.

During the corps commanders' conference, the army's top brass called for greater coordination among law enforcement agencies, the Pakistan Today daily reported.

"The army commanders were of the view that the law enforcement agencies should work in complete coordination against the menace of terrorism. The military leadership observed that the army was all prepared to tackle the menace of terror and it could assist the government wherever it was needed," an unnamed security official was quoted as saying.

The top army commanders "raised a red flag over the spiralling violence in Karachi", The Express Tribune quoted its sources as saying.

"The situation in Karachi has deteriorated to alarming proportions and violence could get out of control if urgent action is not taken immediately," a source told the newspaper.

The security establishment believes Karachi's "problems primarily stem from the turf war between major political parties" and the involvement of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has complicated the situation, the Tribune reported.

The army's top brass was also concerned about the lack of action by authorities to stem the violence in Karachi and the lack of prosecution of those involved in targeted killings, media reports said.