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Pakistan PM Dismisses Rumors of Rift With Army

Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani (file)

Pakistan's prime minister has dismissed rumors of a rift between the government and the military over a secret memo sent to Washington seeking U.S. help in preventing a feared military coup.

Tensions between the government and the military have soared recently ahead of a Supreme Court inquiry into the alleged plot. The absence of President Asif Ali Zardari, who is abroad receiving medical treatment for an illness, has only added to the speculation that the current government is in crisis.

Late Friday, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani met with army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani to discuss the memo. Gilani said in a statement after the meeting that he has rejected the notion there is any trouble between the government and the military.

The prime minister said Pakistan's government and its institutions "remain committed to their constitutional roles and obligations" to a democratic and prosperous future for Pakistan.

His comments come a day after General Kayani was quoted as saying the memo had "impacted national security." The army chief called on the Supreme Court to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding the memo's origins and who wrote it.

The existence of the document came to light in October when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote a column in "The Financial Times" accusing Ambassador Hussain Haqqani of writing the memo requesting U.S. assistance to prevent a military coup. The letter was reportedly sent in May to Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military official at the time.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to resume a hearing Monday on a petition filed by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, demanding an investigation into the affair.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.