When Kayani spoke `by chance’ with Zardari

Islamabad : Pakistan’s powerful army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, spoke “by chance” with an ailing Asif Ali Zardari, their first conversation since the president abruptly flew out of the country to Dubai Dec 6.

The conversation took place Friday night, a day after General Kayani told the Supreme Court that a secret memo had indeed been sent to Washington that said President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup.

Coup rumours resurfaced strongly following the abrupt departure of Zardari to Dubai over a heart ailment.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that during a meeting with General Kayani Friday night he received a telephone call from the president by chance, reported Dawn.

He said he told Zardari that he was having a meeting with the general and the president asked him to convey his regards to Kayani.

The prime minister said he handed over the phone to the army chief who had a chat with Zardari. He, however, did not reveal the content of the conversation.

President’s spokesperson, Farhatullah Khan Babar, said no political matter was discussed with the army chief.

Babar said General Kayani enquired about the president’s health.

He said it was not a planned contact and “they talked by chance”.

Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz had revealed about the secret memo, leading to the resignation of Pakistan’s envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani. Zardari had feared a military coup after the May 2 killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and had appealed for US help, according to the memo.

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