Foreign Office Denies Pakistani Prime Minister Made 'Panicked' Call For British Assistance

Pakstiani Pm

First Posted: 13/01/12 12:56 Updated: 13/01/12 14:49

The British government has denied reports that the Pakistani prime minister made a "panicky" phone call to the UK's ambassador in Islamabad over fears he was in danger of being ousted in a military coup.

According to the Associated Press, Yousuf Reza Gilani contacted High Commissioner Adam Thomson sometime this week to ask for British help in fending off a military takeover of the government.

But the FCO in London told the Huffington Post UK that the call "did not happen".

The Pakistani prime minister faces a vote of confidence in the Pakistani parliament on Monday and is engaged in a stand off with the Supreme Court over his decision not to reopen corruption cases against top politicians.

The government's relationship with the military has also reached a crisis point following the uncovering of a memo, written by someone in the civilian administration, which appealed to the United States to help protect President Asif Ali Zardari against a possible coup.

Since independence from Britain in 1947 there have been four successful coups by the military and generals have run the country for 33 of the nearly 65 years of independence.

British foreign secretary William Hague said there was no need to "panic". "Certainly there has been a very tense situation this week in Pakistan,"Hague told BBC Radio 4's The World at One . "I hope there will now be a calmer period in Pakistan. While clearly there is tension, a lot of risks, we must not talk up those risks from outside the country."

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Filed by Ned Simons  |