No danger of coup: Pakistan

March 4th, 2009 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz SharifIslamabad, Mar 4 (IANS) Pakistan Wednesday ruled out the danger of a military coup in the wake of the Lahore terror attack and the political instability in the country following the poll bar against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother.
“Reports appearing in the media (about the possibility of a military coup) are not credible,” Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told Times Now news channel.

Noting “there is an elected and stable government in place” in Pakistan, Basit added: “The media is free to say what they want. I can’t stop them.

Reports in several western media outlets Wednesday spoke of the possibility of Pakistan Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani staging a coup given the worsening political and security scenario.

“If Kayani and his fellow generals felt obliged to step in “for the good of the country’, then Washington, more concerned about defeating the Taliban and Al Qaida than preserving a democratic system that daily appears to be more and more of a travesty of itself, might well go along. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time,” the Guardian said in an article headlined “Who will save Pakistan?”

“The Pakistani state is facing a crisis of competence and capability,” The Australian said. The article was headlined “Bad day all round for the values of civilisation” in a reference to Tuesday’s terror strike against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore.

Six Pakistani security personnel and two civilians were killed in the attack, in which six Sri Lankan players were also injured.

The attack prompted the Sri Lankan government to abruptly call off the team’s tour of Pakistan and immediately flew the squad home.

“The convergence of political instability and economic collapse has driven Pakistan into a maelstrom,” Pakistani author Moni Mohsin wrote in the Boston Review.

Nawaz Sharif, meanwhile, stepped up the ante against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, accusing him of following policies that were similar to that of his predecessor.

“We are going toward darkness,” warned cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf or Movement for Justice.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court had last month banned Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from contesting the elections, holding them guilty of corrupt practices.

The decision also led to the collapse of the Punjab provincial government that Shahbaz Sharif headed and the imposition of Governor’s Rule.

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