Pakistan minister resigns, criticises military

The Pakistani
minister for defence production has resigned after criticising the military.

Abdul Qayum
Jatoi had told journalists on Saturday that the Pakistani army was provided
with funds to defend the country, not to get involved in political
assassinations.

His comments
were played repeatedly on Pakistani television channels.

Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani summoned him to explain his remarks and a short
time later, Mr. Jatoi resigned.

“We provided
the army with uniforms and boots not so that they kill their own fellow
countrymen, kill Nawab Sahib [Bugti] and Benazir Bhutto,” he told a news
conference in the city of Quetta.

Former
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 as
she was campaigning in Pakistan’s presidential elections.

Nawab Akbar
Bugti was a tribal leader in the province of Baluchistan who was killed in a
battle between government forces and tribal militants in August 2006.

Pakistan’s
military has carried out coups against the civilian government on three
occasions – in 1958, 1977 and 1999 – and has governed the country for much of
its 63-year history. There has been speculation in the media that the Pakistani
military would move against the civilian government, which was widely
criticised for its handling of the recent floods.

However, most
analysts believe a coup is unlikely at
the moment.

During the
same news conference, Mr. Jatoi suggested that the benefits of corruption
should be equally available
to all.

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