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Possible coup in Pakistan? 4 key questions

Pakistan’s government is facing a period of prolonged uncertainty about its future, four years after the country returned to democratic rule. Here are four key questions to explain the issues.

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A paramilitary soldier keeps guard outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad January 16. Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday ordered Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to appear before the court for failing to pursue corruption cases against the president and other officials, a sharp escalation in the government's battle for survival.

Faisal Mahmood/REUTERS

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1. Why is the Pakistan Army at loggerheads with the government?

Since coming to power in 2008, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has enjoyed a relatively good relationship with the country’s powerful Army.

Analysts say the Army had been content to rehabilitate its image after nine years of unpopular direct military-rule under General Pervez Musharraf, winning key victories against the Taliban in Pakistan’s restive northwest and Tribal Areas.

That changed when a US businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, brought to a light a secret memo sent by unknown persons to the US government, requesting help in curtailing the Army in exchange for a set of pro-US policies.  

The secret memo, which was allegedly drafted in the aftermath of the Osama bin Laden raid in 2011 because the government feared a coup, created a major scandal in the country known as ‘Memo-gate’ that cost former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani his job, and ratcheted tensions and drove a stake between the civilian government and the military.

President Zardari has denied any involvement with the memo.

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