Pakistan's premier resigns

Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafar Allah Jamali has resigned from his office, Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmad has said.

    Jamali has had an uneasy relationship with the president

    "Yes, he has resigned," the minister said on Saturday, confirming reports from party sources. 

    President of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, Chaudhry Shujaat Husain was nominated to succeed Jamali as
    prime minister.

    Husain is all but certain to win the necessary vote of confidence in parliament, where the ruling party enjoys a commanding majority. A vote was expected within days.  

    "It's an in-house change and it will have no effect on the Pakistan-India talks," Rashid later told reporters. 

    Senator Muhammad Ali Durrani from Jamali's coalition partner
    earlier said that Pakistan's military ruler, President Pervez
    Musharraf, had accepted the premier's resignation following a meeting between the two. 

    Speculation

    Jamali's resignation after a 19-month tenure follows months of speculation on the premier's uneasy relationship with Musharraf. 

    Musharraf wants to keep the role
    of army chief as well as president

    Jamali was elected prime minister in November 2002 in the first polls after three years of military rule by Musharraf, who seized power by toppling the elected government of then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif on 12 October 1999. 

    But throughout his tenure, Jamali remained overshadowed by Musharraf. Durrani said Saturday's resignation, which came a day after Jamali emphatically denied he was planning to stand down, was not a result of any confrontation or tension with the president, despite their uneasy relationship. 

    "Maybe President Musharraf wants to give a new pace and bring a new team," he said. 

    Support lacking

    But analysts say Jamali, 60, had failed Musharraf in mustering
    the support demanded by the president to ensure he keeps the role of army chief, as well as president. 

    "Maybe President Musharraf wants to
    give a new pace and bring a new team" 

    Muhammad Ali Durrani,
    Pakistani senator

    "He was perhaps not active enough and failed to deliver political support to Musharraf to remain in uniform," political analyst Muhammad Afzal Niazi said. 

    "I see no other reason for Jamali's resignation." 

    General Musharraf, who holds the dual posts of president and
    army chief, has promised in a constitutionally-enshrined pledge to shed his uniform by the end of 2004 and become a civilian
    president. 

    But doubts have risen in recent months as to whether he will
    surrender his military role. 

    Speculation on Jamali's future spooked Pakistan's financial
    markets on Friday, with stocks dropping one per cent on rumours of his imminent departure.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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