KARACHI: As anger mounts over the degrading language and observations in the Kerry-Lugar Bill on Pakistan’s military services and intelligence agencies, the Army conveyed its part of protest to the United States when Commander of International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal met Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at the GHQ on Tuesday, informed officials said.
These officials said that General Kayani told General McChrystal that like the Pakistani people, the military and intelligence services were furious at the observations made on Pakistan’s security establishment in the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Kayani also protested over the controversial statements made by some US officials in recent days.
“General McChrystal returned from the GHQ with an unambiguous message that the terms set in the Kerry-Lugar Bill on the national security interests of Pakistan are insulting and are unacceptable in their present formulation,” according to an official familiar with the content of the meeting.
Informed official sources said that the Army’s strong reaction to the Kerry-Lugar Bill was shared in detail with the government when General Kayani met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Sunday.
In a related development, also on Tuesday, Gilani asked Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to convey Pakistan’s reservations in his meetings with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama’s Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke and key members of the US Congress.
While Tuesday’s meeting with General McChrystal provided General Kayani with an opportunity to convey the Army’s serious objection to the controversial sections of the bill in detail, he had lodged an initial protest during his meeting with General McChrystal in Kabul, where he had gone last week toattend the tripartite military conference.
The Kerry-Lugar Bill and its impact on national security interests of Pakistan will be a key subject of discussion when the corps commanders and principal staff officers of the Army meet under General Kayani on Wednesday.
While the nation’s response is currently focused at the controversial content of the Kerry-Lugar Bill, the government is also concerned about a growing unregulated arrival and stay of American citizens in Pakistan.
Concerns grew when Pakistanís security agencies recorded various cases of illegal acquisition of weapons by security firms connected with the US Embassy in Pakistan. Prime Minister Gilani, sources said, has already ordered a complete record with specific details and pre-clearance of US citizens entering Pakistan on US government business.