Pakistan's army chief is fighting to save his position in the face of "seething anger" in the army establishment over the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to the New York Times.
Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who has led the army since 2007, "faces such intense discontent over what is seen as his cosy relationship with the US that a colonels' coup, while unlikely, was not out of the question," the influential US daily said in a report from Islamabad citing Pakistani officials.
The Pakistani Army is essentially run by consensus among 11 top commanders, known as the Corps Commanders, and almost all of them, if not all, were demanding that General Kayani get much tougher with the Americans, even edging toward a break, the Times said
Washington, with its own hard line against Pakistan, had pushed General Kayani into a defensive crouch, along with his troops, and if the general was pushed out, the United States would face a more uncompromising anti-American army chief, it said citing a Pakistani source.
A long statement after the regular monthly meeting of the 11 corps commanders last week illuminated the mounting hostility toward the United States, even as it remains the army's biggest patron, supplying at least $2 billion a year in aid, the daily said.
The statement, aimed at rebuilding support within the army and among the public, said that American training in Pakistan had only ever been minimal, and had now ended, it said.
The statement said that the CIA-run drone attacks against militants in the tribal areas "were not acceptable under any circumstances."
Allowing the drones to continue to operate from Pakistan was "politically unsustainable," the Times quoted a "well-informed Pakistani who met with General Kayani recently" as saying.
As part of his survival mechanism, General Kayani could well order the Americans to stop the drone programme completely, the Pakistani said.
The anger at the Americans was now making it more difficult for General Kayani to motivate the army to fight against the Pakistani Taliban in what is increasingly seen as a fight on behalf of the US, the Times said citing former Pakistani soldiers.