The Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani has reportedly handed a list of allegedly incompetent ministers to President Asif Ali Zardari, and demanded their removal, according to a report published in a British daily.
A senior western official requesting anonymity confirmed that the president has been asked to remove named loyalists from his 60-member cabinet.
The move comes in the backdrop of rising public impatience with the government’s dealing with corruption and the devastating floods that have ravaged the country. Rumours of a military coup have been making the rounds, with the latest warning coming from former president Pervez Musharraf who said on Wednesday that Kayani could be forced to intervene against the government of President Zardari which he said had failed to tackle rampant militancy and a crumbling economy.
A close Zardari aide however denied that the army was pressuring the government.
Earlier, a significant meeting between President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and General Kayani had been reported to have diffused tensions with the troika pledging to support democracy.
Two senior diplomats said the preferred course of action is for the present government to see out its five-year term. One of the officials said it was the only way to bring long-term stability.