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Pakistani army denies allegations of coup plot

The Pakistani army denied any speculation of trying to oust the government.

Husain haqqani us ambassador pakistan Enlarge
Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, US Senator John Kerry and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari visit a flood relief camp in Rajanpur district's Jampur on August 19, 2010. (Farooq Naeem /AFP/Getty Images)

The Pakistani army has denied accusations that the military is trying to oust the nation’s government following a secret memo sent to Washington earlier this year regarding an alleged coup, the Associated Press reported.

An army statement, released by military chief General Ashfaq Kayani, told troops the military will continue to support democracy in Pakistan and that any talk of an army take over was “speculation,” Reuters reported.

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The military’s denial comes one day after Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani told youth party members in Islamabad that the country risked the return of military rule, the Financial Times reported.

“I want to tell you clearly that conspiracies are under way to remove this elected government,” said Gilani, the FT reported. “Now people have to decide whether you want elected people or dictatorship.”

Pakistan’s Supreme Court is currently investigating claims that President Asif Ali Zardari’s envoy to the United States sought American help to prevent a possible coup following the killing of Osama bin Laden in May, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The court’s investigation was started by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and has been supported by Kayani. The president’s government opposed the investigation because it said it already announced a parliamentary inquiry, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

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The controversy surrounding the memo that Zadari allegedly authorized led to Husain Haqqani, one of Zardari’s closest allies, resigning as ambassador to Washington soon after the existence of the memo became public, the FT reported.

Pakistan’s president resumed his duties on Friday after returning from medical treatment in Dubai and has no intention of leaving over the scandal, Reuters reported. Zardari is still one of Pakistan’s most unpopular figures. The army, Pakistan’s strongest institution, has ruled the country for most of the last 64 years after carrying out a series of coups, the AP reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/111223/pakistani-army-denies-allegations-coup-plot