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Pakistan PM welcomes army statement on coup rumours
AFP | Dec 25,2011 | 21:13
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday welcomed a statement by army chief General Ashfaq Kayani ruling out a military takeover in the country.
Tensions between the army and government appeared to have soared in recent days over a secret memo that allegedly sought US intervention to prevent a feared coup.
"He [Kayani] strongly dispelled the speculations of any military takeover and said that these are misleading and are being used as a bogey to divert the focus from real issues," a military statement Friday cited Kayani as saying.
This statement "is extremely well taken by democratic circles in the country", Gilani said Saturday during a televised interaction with the local media in Islamabad.
The armed forces has carried out three coups in Pakistan and is considered the chief arbiter of power in the country of 174 million.
Kayani's statement came after Pakistan's top judge also ruled out the possibility of a coup as he examined calls from the army and the opposition to probe the memo scandal.
On Thursday, Gilani delivered an unprecedented tirade against the military and accused "conspirators" — whom he did not name — of plotting to bring down his government.
But Kayani dismissed those concerns, saying that the army "will continue to support the democratic process in the country".
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