Pakistan Extends Term Of Army Chief Amid Applause - And Doubt

Muzaffarabad, Pakistani Kashmir Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani awarded his military chief Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani a three-year extension late Thursday, citing the need for continuity in the country’s ongoing campaign against Taliban insurgents.The anticipated move is seen as a nod to the Pakistani military’s successful campaigns under General Kayani’s command, which have earned him accolades both at home and the United States. “Owing to the ongoing military operations against terrorists, it is important to maintain the element of continuity in the military leadership.” Prime Minister Gilani said in a brief televised address. But some political analysts worry that the extension – the first of its kind when a civilian government has held power in the country – will undermine the authority of Pakistan’s parliament. General Kayani was originally due to retire on Nov. 28, 2010, but will now remain in office until 2013, while both Prime Minister Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari retire in March and September 2013, respectively.