Zardari and Kayani speak to each other "by chance" | world | Hindustan Times
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Zardari and Kayani speak to each other "by chance"

As the memogate scandal continues to give room for conspiracy theories, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and his powerful army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani spoke to each other "by chance" on phone, their first direct communication since the sudden departure of the former to Dubai on Dec 6 for medical treatment.

world Updated: Dec 18, 2011 18:14 IST

As the memogate scandal continues to give room for conspiracy theories, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and his powerful army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani spoke to each other "by chance" on phone, their first direct communication since the sudden departure of the former to Dubai on Dec 6 for medical treatment.

The government tried to play down the significance of the conversation by saying that "they talked by chance", the Dawn daily reported on Sunday.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told a select group of reporters on Saturday that during his meeting with the army chief on Friday night, he received a telephone call from the President by chance.

He said when he informed Zardari that he was having a meeting with the army chief, he asked him to convey his regards to Kayani.

Gilani said he handed over the receiver to Kayani to enable the two persons to have a "chat".

Gilani, however, did not say anything about the subject the two discussed during the conversation.

The Presidency's spokesman, Farhatullah Khan Babar, denied that Zardari had discussed the memo issue or any other political matter with the army chief.

He said the army chief enquired about the health of the president and wished him an early recovery while the President thanked him for his good wishes.

Babar said it was not a planned contact and "they talked by chance", the daily reported.

Asked why the government did not tell the media about the telephone conversation on Friday night, the spokesman said "it was feared that if word got out, it would be all grist to rumour and media mills".

The Prime Minister and the army chief, through their two-hour meeting, had tried to dispel the impression of a confrontation between the civilian and military leaders over the memo case being heard by the Supreme Court.