More than a week after National Security Adviser (NSA) Mehmud Ali Durrani was sacked, the Pakistani government is yet to issue a formal notification on this, an indication of the growing rift between the president and the prime minister.
"We have not yet received anything in black and white from the presidency for issuing the official notification, relieving Durrani of his position," The News on Wednesday quoted a Cabinet Division official as saying.
He said a formal notification was necessary for the appointment or removal of federal ministers, ministers of state and advisers to the prime minister.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had January 7 abruptly sacked Durrani for owning up the Pakistani nationality of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman arrested during the November 26-29 Mumbai terror attacks, "without taking him into confidence".
"According to official procedure, the premier has to send a formal case to president for removal of an adviser or minister. The president has to approve it and only then the Cabinet Division issues a formal notification, which is also made public," The News said.
According to Article 93 of the constitution, "The president may, on the advice of the prime minister, appoint not more than five advisers, on such terms and conditions as he may determine".
A constitutional expert told the newspaper, "One interpretation of this provision is that the prime minister's advice for appointment or removal of an adviser is not binding on the president as the use of word 'may' implies."
Thus, President Asif Ali Zardari may sit on Gilani's advice on Durrani for some time, as he is said to be displeased with the sacking.
"If the issuance of the formal notification drags for a long time, it would reinforce reports that all is not well between the presidency and the prime minister's office. Durrani's termination itself hinted at some tension between the two camps," The News noted.