| GEO World|
| Army takeover unlikely in Pakistan - U.S. military chief|
| Updated at: 1447 PST, Saturday, March 14, 2009|
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Army Chief Ashfaq Kayani is unlikely to launch a military takeover to end an ongoing political crisis threatening the one-year-old civilian government, according to the United States' top military officer.
"He is committed to a civilian government. He is committed to the democracy that's there," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the American PBS network on Friday.
"He does want to stay out of politics. He wants to do the right thing for Pakistan and he's in a very, very tough spot," Mullen said.
Inevitably, eyes are on Kayani as a political crisis envelops President Asif Ali Zardari's coalition government.
In the latest crisis, Zardari and his government have been trying to derail a mass protest organised by a lawyers’ movement fighting for an independent judiciary, and backed by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, along with parties from the religious right.
Former president General Pervez Musharraf chose Kayani as his successor when he stepped down as army chief in 2009. Musharraf came to power in a coup that toppled Sharif in 1999, but Mullen did not believe Kayani has any ambitions to run the country.
"In my view, the last thing in the world he wants to do is take over as President Musharraf did," Mullen said.