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 on Sunday.
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, The Express daily reported today.
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 Gilani told
journalists 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," Gilani said.
Following widespread criticism of the Pakistan
People`s Party-led government`s poor handling of relief
efforts in the wake of the unprecedented floods that swept the
country and affected over 20 million people, there has been
considerable speculation that the government is facing a
Britain`s High Commissioner Adam Thomson and his staff
have been working round the clock to ease the plight of those
made homeless by floods.
Up to eight million are still depend on aid.
According to the report, hardliners in Pakistan`s army
are becoming impatient with the crisis and want faster
solutions and a more determined effort to stamp out the