At Penpoint Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani came on TV to announce to the nation that COAS General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani would get an extension to 2013. This represented at least three things. Once again, the PPP demonstrated that it allowed the USA to interfere in appointments. It was also the first time that the Prime Minister exercised his new powers under the 18th Amendment. It was also not so much an extension, as the giving of a second tenure. It was the Prime Minister who pointed out that the COAS, the Chief Justice and the PM were all in place permanently till 2013. Does this represent the expected duration of the USAs war on terror? It was the war which has persuaded the US to intervene so openly in the process, which is normally secretive, and which is supposed to justify what is a departure from established procedure. The appointment came hot on the heels of the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is also supposed to have plugged for General Kayanis extension. The message that has been made clear is that the COASs appointment is vetoed or approved by the US. It may be that this applies only to the PPP, but it should be noted that when Benazir was Prime Minister, the PPP had its difficulties with the military, but it did not have the US intervening so bluntly and directly. Not only has the US grown more imperial, but it has also to face the extraordinary situation of the war on terror. However, the revelation of US power may be false. Maybe it had learnt that the extension was going to be given, and the Secretary put in her recommendation so that it could be counted as having succeeded, which was going to happen anyhow. The alternative, that the Americans were unable to find anyone in the current crop of lieutenant generals, indicates that the acculturation process has gone wrong, and the US is unable to find an appropriate replacement for Kayani. It says something about Kayani, but this also indicates the pressures he must be facing. Like the Pakistani society as a whole, the army is uncertain about the role the country should be playing in what is widely seen as an American war. There is only a coup when the COAS feels the pressure from the officer corps. Coups are not that frequent, having been carried out only by four of the previous 13 men who have held the office, which is not a very high proportion. However, there is always fear of a coup after the lifting of a martial law, and it is that fear which is presently at work. It has been at work on two previous occasions when the PPP took power. Indeed, it is the changes made in its first tenure, under founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, that still hold good. The major change that was made was the conversion of the posts of the three service commanders-in-chief to that of chiefs of staff. They were given tenures of three years each, with a one-year extension. This applied only to the first chiefs, for the second COAS, General Ziaul Haq, did not apply the system rigorously, and particularly not to himself. He did not give himself a one-year extension after his first three-year tenure expired in 1979, but an open-ended extension 'until further orders. The 'further orders did not come until after Zias death in 1988. Meanwhile, as Prime Minister, Muha-mmad Khan Junejo had established the principle of no extensions, for though appointments were made by the President, extensions were made by the PM. Since Junejo, appointments were for three-year tenures, and this only became newsworthy when Lt Gen Asif Nawaz was appointed COAS in 1991. He died in office, and General Abdul Waheed was appointed. That was the time that special one-year extensions were granted to two lieutenant-generals senior to him. Air Chief Marshal Farooq Feroze Khan continued as Chairman JCSC at this time, but the post, initially meant to be the primary military post, the equivalent to the old Raj post of Commander-in-Chief, had become a sinecure to offload generals of a certain seniority, not rotate among the three services as originally intended. During the tenure of General Jehangir Karamat as COAS, the Chairmans post was merged with it, and this continued for General Pervez Musharraf. However, when he completed three years in both posts, he gave the Chairmans slot to another officer, while retaining the COAS job. Of course, by then he was President. This time, though the Chairmanship is due to move at the same time as the COAS, there has been no announcement, indicating that the Chairmanship, far from forming part of the equation, may well be moved again to either the PAF or the navy. Another parallel that could be drawn is with General Ayub Khan. He too was the first Army Chief to receive an extension, and that also repeatedly. This was the case with the navy and PAF chiefs too, because relatively junior officers had been sent to the UKs College of Defence Studies in the course of rapid promotions. Ayub too was one such, having ended World War II as a battalion commander. He was retained as Army Chief at a time of political instability and American formation of SEATO and CENTO. It is still remembered that Ayub unilaterally entered SEATO. Ayubs role as Army Commander-in-Chief has been obscured by his presidency, but he was certainly very influential, having served all seven years before taking over as Pakistans first CMLA. At this time, the service chiefs did not exactly have a fixed tenure, so there was no getting a second tenure, just extensions. In fact, in June 1958, just three months before his takeover, Ayub had received a two-year extension in service. Another common factor is that both Kayani and Ayub were JCOs sons, though when Ayubs father was in Hodsons Horse, being a JCO (then VCO) was the highest rank to which a 'native could aspire. Ayub used his seven years as C-in-C to change the Pakistan army from part of the World War II British machine to a modern army, with American equipment. The army that Kayani commands was shaped by Ayub. The Higher Defence Organisation, which Kayani does not, the Prime Minister does, was shaped by Bhutto. The army was shaped at the time the US was fighting the Cold War; now it is fighting the war on terror, but it still wants the Pakistan army on its side. The move has been intended by the government to reduce the risk of a takeover. However, the takeover depends on the wishes of the officer corps, and those will apply whether it is Kayanis first tenure, or second. It also leaves him with the problem of how to keep quiet the officers that will be passed over because of this second tenure. The passing over will be more not going the final step, as well as the officers who will stand retired at the normal end of their service lives, while Kayani will not. There remains the problem of how Kayani hopes to make his mark on the army in his second tenure. In a way memorable to the Pakistani nation, not the American, and not in their war on terror. Email: