Pakistani people would foil any attempt to overthrow the elected government, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Friday as speculation mounted in the country of possibility of a silent coup.
Dismissing rumours of a coup following President Asif Ali Zardari's sudden departure to Dubai for medical treatment, Malik, a close aide of the President, said: "... if someone tries to do something to the government, the people will foil such attempts."
"The people have given us a mandate for five years through elections and votes," Malik told reporters outside parliament.
His remarks came against the backdrop of rampant speculation over the fate of Zardari, who suddenly departed for Dubai on Tuesday to undergo tests for what officials said was a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition.
Malik dismissed questions from reporters on whether the government was facing a serious crisis, saying the situation was "not as complex" as people were making it out to be.
Officials have denied reports that Zardari suffered a minor heart attack and that he had undergone surgery in Dubai.
The presidential spokesman said on Thursday that he was stable and recuperating in a hospital.
However, the government has not set a date for Zardari's return to Pakistan and this has fuelled speculation about his health and fate.
Zardari, 56, has been at the centre of a storm since Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz made public a secret memo delivered to the US military that sought American aid to help prevent a military coup in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.