23 Dec 2011

Anti-Govt plot rumours in Pakistan

5:33 am on 23 December 2011

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan says conspirators are plotting to bring down his government.

He also declared on Thursday that the military has to be accountable to parliament and that no institution can be a state within a state.

Mr Gilani's government is struggling with a scandal over a leaked memo that has forced the resignation of the Pakistani ambassador to the United States and threatens the president.

The memo asked for US help to prevent a military takeover.

President Asif Ali Zardari, 56, recently returned to Pakistan after seeking medical treatment in Dubai. He denies any role in the memo.

The BBC reports his illness and the scandal surrounding the memo have led to speculation that he might be forced out of office.

The supreme court has opened a hearing into the memo and demanded a reply from the president.

Mr Gilani also referred to the killing of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May by US forces, querying how the al-Qaeda leader, managed to get into Pakistan and live there for six years apparently undetected.

The army was not told about the raid in advance.

The BBC reports tensions are high between the government, which has ruled since elections in February 2008, and the military and intelligence services.

The army has ruled Pakistan for much of its history and has carried out four coups.

Some analysts have speculated that the memo incident is a conspiracy by the army to embarrass the government.