Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has received an unusual support from leading Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who described him as 'a man of principle'.
"The only thing that saves... that helps us is that General Kayani, who is in charge of that, is a man of principle. He would not let that happen frivolously and he would do everything he can to make sure that he did what was in the best interests of Pakistan," Cain told the CNN.
Cain, who according to opinion polls is placed third in a list of sight Republican presidential aspirants and facing sexual harassment charges, was responding to questions about what would happen if the nuclear weapons of Pakistan were grabbed by extremist elements.
"So, I have faith in him because I have actually talked with someone who went to school with him. He's a man of principle and he would not do something just because of pressures from some extremist force," Cain said.
This has come as one of the strongest defence of the Pakistan Army chief from a Republican presidential candidate, majority of who feel that Pakistan is on the verge of being a failed state.
"He (Kayani) could be removed, but we can't control that either. He could be removed. But for right now, he, General Kayani, is the one that I think is going to maintain a certain amount of stability there (in Pakistan)," he said.
Cain argued that US relationship with Pakistan was not clear at all. "We can't make Pakistan our friend, but we can make them respect us. It gets back to what I describe as peace through strength and clarity. Our relationship with Pakistan has not been clear, at least from my vantage point and the vantage point of a lot of other people.
"How we define when the relationship has been broken or a rule has been broken? It's been very unclear. And, as a result, we have a very unclear relationship with Pakistan right now," Cain said.
On the latest incident of death of 24 Pakistani soldiers by NATO forces, Cain said the first thing he would do is ask the government of Pakistan to figure out the facts of what happened.
"There's one report that NATO forces may have been provoked. We don't know the answer to that yet," he said.
"So I would say, could we first do a full investigation before we start finger-pointing and before we start saying this is what the US ought to do, NATO ought to, what Pakistan ought to do? Let's get the facts first.
"That's what I would do first and encourage them to do," Cain said.