Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has held a secret meeting with senior PML-N leader and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif this week, sparking intense speculation in political circles, according to a media report.
The meeting between the powerful army chief and the brother of former premier Nawaz Sharif took place after midnight on Wednesday.
Shahbaz Sharif visited the garrison city of Rawalpindi and went to Kayani's residence without security and protocol. Only two vehicles were present at the Rawalpindi airport and no prominent official was on hand to receive Shahbaz when he arrived late on Wednesday night, the Dawn News channel quoted its sources as saying.
After a brief halt at the Punjab House in Rawalpindi, Shahbaz was joined by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, and they drove to the Army House, the army chief's official residence, to meet Kayani.
There has been no official word on the meeting. Before the general election last year, Kayani had barred military officers from meeting politicians.
However, Kayani met Pakistan People's Party leader Aitzaz Ahsan, a key player in the influential lawyers' movement, in July.
It is believed that Kayani used the meeting with Ahsan to send a message to the lawyers' movement and the judiciary that the army did not favour any move to put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial.
There has also been speculation that Kayani's meeting with Shahbaz could have focussed on the same issue.
The PML-N is among the political parties that have been pressing for Musharraf's trial on charges of treason after the Supreme Court declared the emergency imposed by him in 2007 was illegal and unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal has denied that any such meeting between Shahbaz and Kayani had taken place. Chief military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas too said he was not aware of any such development. PTI