The Pakistan Army will refuse to work with new Defence Secretary Nargis Sethi appointed by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after he fired Naeem Khalid Lodhi, a former general and a confident of army chief, the New York Times reported quoting a source in the army.
Gilani replaced Lodhi with a civilian aide Nargis Sethi after accusing the former secretary of "gross misconduct and illegal action" and of "creating misunderstanding between the state institutions.
The newspaper wrote that ordinarily, the defence secretary in Pakistan is appointed with the consent of the army chief and acts as a bridge between the government and the military. It added that the role is more powerful than that of the defence minister, a position filled by a politician from the governing party.
The New York Times said the defence secretary's signature is required for any appointment, or termination, of a member of the military leadership. "By installing a defence secretary of his own choice, Gilani appeared to be seeking greater leverage for his government in dealing with the military," it added.
Another military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in the New York Times report that relations between Lodhi and Gilani soured after the prime minister's staff put pressure on Lodhi to contradict statements about the controversial memo by army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and ISI chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha.
The two had told the Supreme Court last month that the memo, allegedly drafted by former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, was authentic.
"The government had prepared a draft that stated that the Ministry of Defence does not agree with General Kayani and Genera Pasha's opinions about the veracity of the memo," said the military official, who was present during the discussions.
"General Lodhi refused to sign the document, saying those were not his words."