The three year extension given to army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani will ensure that the current leadership of the government, military and judiciary remains in office till 2013, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday.
Gilani announced the government's decision to extend the term of Kayani, who was set to retire in November, during an address to the nation on Thursday night.
He said the decision was made after consulting the President to ensure continuity in crucial counter terrorism operations.
"At this time, the Prime Minister will be there till 2013, the President will be there till 2013 and the (Supreme Court) Chief Justice will be there till 2013," Gilani told reporters on the sidelines of a function at an orphanage.
"We have extended the army chief’s term till 2013 too. Now everyone is in a secure position and they should work under the ambit of the constitution," he said in response to a question.
Gilani denied that there was pressure on the government led by his Pakistan People's Party to extend the tenure of the army chief.
58 year old Kayani, a former chief of the Inter Services Intelligence agency, was made army chief by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in November 2007.
He has emerged as a key player in shaping Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Though political commentators often speak of Pakistan's "power troika" comprising the President, Prime Minister and army chief, insiders in the government acknowledge that it is the publicity shy Kayani who has emerged as the most important player in shaping Pakistan's foreign policy, especially relations with India and the US.