ISLAMABAD: Another Memo-like fiasco reared its head on Friday as media reports alleged that, sometime this week, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had telephoned British High Commissioner Adam Thomson expressing fears that the army might stage a coup.
The PM House, however, issued a prompt rebuttal, followed by a contradiction by Thomson himself.
Denial or not, the reports have already sent the rumour mills churning and could potentially worsen already adverse relations between the military and the government.
The premier has been talking to various political leaders and diplomats about potential threats to his administration, a close associate of the prime minister told The Express Tribune. “He did discuss issues pertaining to the ongoing rivalry between the civilian and military leadership with close associates and political allies on a number of occasions over the last couple of weeks,” the PM’s aide said, adding however, that he wasn’t certain if Prime Minister Gilani had spoken to the British High Commissioner regarding the issue.
Within minutes of the media quoting an Associated Press report, the PM House issued a flat out denial: “PM Gilani has not spoken to Thomson in this regard. The AP story is completely unfounded,” adding, “The democratic government, led by PM Gilani, draws its strength from the people of Pakistan – not from foreign powers.”
A prompt rebuttal also came from Thomson’s office, with his spokesperson issuing a statement saying, “The story regarding a recent telephone call between Thomson and PM Gilani is untrue. There has been no such call.”
British Foreign Minister William Hague refrained from commenting on the news report, but he did advise the country’s civilian and military leadership to avoid a clash.
Over the last few weeks, Prime Minister Gilani began lobbying against the armed forces and was reportedly discussing some “sensitive information” with diplomats and politicians in Islamabad and Multan, sources alleged, adding that the premier had also engaged a legal team to keep a close eye on the latest developments from the Supreme Court and the GHQ.
The PM was eager to get his hands on some inside information on the corps commanders’ and principal staff officers’ recent conference held at the GHQ, chaired by Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and then later discussed the details with President Asif Ali Zardari, his legal team and political allies, a source claimed.
“He still fears major changes before the Senate elections on March 2,” the source added.
Associated Press, a US state owned news agency, published a news item regarding a telephonic conversation between Premier Yusuf Raza Gillani and British High Commissioner Adam Thomson to convey his message to the British govt to support his embattled administration in-case of a possible military coup.
(Read: Situationer: Coups are not easy anymore)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2012.