If I were Major General (retd) Mehmud Ali Durrani, I would be a worried man not because I would have lost my job but because of the unfortunate controversy that surrounded his removal by the prime minister. He was relaxing with friends and family on the evening of Wednesday, January 7, in his elegant home on the Golf Course Road - an exclusive residential preserve of generals in Rawalpindi cantonment. The subject of discussion was the general's CNN interview. Little did anybody know that the prime minister had just sacked the general from his job as national security advisor. Soon the news of Durrani's sacking by the PM flashed across TV screens on all channels. General Durrani had apparently revealed on an Indian TV channel that Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving member of the ten terrorists who carried out the Mumbai bombings late November, was a Pakistani. Although Sherry Rehman, the information minister, had made a similar admission in an SMS message to the AP, it was the general the PM decided to sack. According to the PM's secretariat Durrani had made a serious public statement on a sensitive security issue without taking the prime minister into confidence. Durrani thought he had become a victim of the ongoing tussle between the president and the prime minister. PM Gilani, a mild mannered PPP politician from Multan Musharraf kept in jail for five years, has to everybody's surprise decided to assert his authority. This has been the first major move by him in his building confrontation with the president and apparently, in less than a year in the job, he is showing that he is no ("Short Cut") Shaukat Aziz. And Zardari is no Musharraf. When the chips are down, Prime Minister Gilani's support in the Parliament - people think - will be more broad based than the incumbent president's. Aware of this, President Zardari took Durrani's dismissal quietly and has apparently let it pass. Some people also say that Gilani had informed the president before making the announcement. The sacking of Major General (retd) Mehmud Durrani was widely supported by commentators in the media. However, the PM's office telephoning a private TV channel to inform that Durrani had been sacked seemed an odd way of announcing the removal of a public official. Speculations were rife and the confusion seemed to mark a set back for Pakistan in the current standoff with India following the Mumbai terrorist attack. There are two observations to be made on the incident. One, it does indicate tensions between the president and the PM making this government appear vulnerable. But unlike some of my friends, I do not see a nod from the army to the PM to contain the president. They are too preoccupied at the moment with action in FATA and Swat, insurgency in Balochistan and the current tension with India to think of any adventure. The vulnerability of the government is not lost on Mian Nawaz Sharif's PML whose draft constitutional amendment bill to repeal Musharraf's 17th amendment is on the table, being shared with the PPP. It is clear to everybody that Mr Zardari will suffer drastic loss of authority if the 17th amendment is removed. It remains to be seen now if the PPP parliamentary party and PML-N can develop a consensus on the issue. Some people are already seeing Mian Nawaz Sharif and the PM as future allies. If so, Mr Zardari must feel lonely. Two, there is almost universal agreement that Durrani was a US man, something supported by his career profile. All kinds of sordid stories over his American connection burst forth as soon as the story broke; newspapers lapping it up for days. That aspect of the scandal shows how much the US is hated here. And it is from that point of view that popular opinion has supported the PM's decision to sack him. That not one man has stood up for the poor general, is a reflection of how callous the intelligentsia has become. As soon as the news of his sacking broke, the daggers were out. Not even his colleagues, some of them quite vocal in the media, raised a finger in his defence. Knowing that he had fallen, they were at their cowardly best. But to put the whole matter in perspective, Mehmud Durrani - a PMA sword of honour winner, has been an outstanding army officer even though he could not make it to the Lt Gen rank. Author of a couple of books, he is not an illiterate soldier. He is a low key, family man; a teetotaller but not a moralist. His colleagues and friends know he does not take an extreme position in a discussion. Believing it to be in the national interest, he is committed to peace with India, an objective he has pursued in behind-the-scene diplomacy with that country. In India, some people call him General Shanti (peace). Such a man did not deserve the kind of summary disposal he has suffered. The writer is a former ambassador at large