LONDON: Amid fears of a military coup in Pakistan, Britain has put its elite Special Air Service (SAS) on a stand-by mode for an emergency evacuation of Britons from the country, a media report said Monday.
As the country struggles with the twin problems of severe floods and terrorist activity, the special forces regiment of the British Army across the border in Afghanistan are drawing up plans to remove staff from the Islamabad embassy within four hours, UK-based The Express daily reported.
Britons working in the country have been put on a register and will be told to gather at an assembly point at a time of crisis.
The plan is a sign of Pakistan’s political fragility, the report said.
Last week, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani told journalists that Pakistan’s elected government will complete its tenure as there is no threat to democracy and the army has no intention of coming to power. “The army neither intends to come to power nor will it come to power. The judiciary is independent and pro-democratic,” he said at his official residence in Islamabad on Friday.
There is no threat to democracy as the civilian government came to power after making numerous sacrifices and winning the 2008 election, he said.
“Despite this if some people are engaged in a debate (about a threat to the government and the army coming to power), they are wasting their time,” Gillani said. – Agencies – Statesman