ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has ruled out a military takeover in the country, describing rumors about a coup amid a political scandal as "misleading," the military said Dec. 23.
GEN. ASHFAQ KAYANI said in a statement that "[the] Pakistan Army has and will continue to support the democratic process in the country." (Ishara S. Kodikara / AFP)
"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 the real issues," a military statement cited him as saying.
The general, who was addressing troops in the Mohmand and Kurram tribal regions near the Afghan border on Dec. 22, "reiterated that (the) Pakistan Army has and will continue to support the democratic process in the country," according to the statement.
The army chief's remarks were made public several hours after Pakistan's top judge Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also ruled out a military coup.
"Rest assured ... in this country there is no question of (military) takeover because the people trust the apex court now," said the chief justice while hearing petitions calling for an investigation into a memo scandal.
A panel headed by Chaudhry is deliberating whether to order a probe into allegations that a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari wrote asking for U.S. help to prevent a feared coup and reign in the military's power in May.
The armed forces have carried out three coups in Pakistan and is considered the chief arbiter of power in the country of 174 million.