Pakistan arms minister resigns

Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi's resignation follows critical remarks he made about the country's military.

    Pakistan's minister for defence production has resigned after Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, summoned him to explain why he had criticised Pakistan's military.

    Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi had said at a news conference in Quetta that the Pakistani army was provided with funds to defend the country, not to get involved in political assassinations.

    "We provided the army with uniforms and boots not so that they kill their own fellow countrymen, kill Nawab Sahib [Bugti] and Benazir Bhutto ... If they have boots, they should go and fight on the borders," Jatoi said in comments played repeatedly on Pakistani television.

    Nawab Akbar Bugti, a tribal leader in Baluchistan, was killed in 2006 in a battle between government forces and tribal militants.

    Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, was assassinated in 2007 while campaigning for prime minister.

    The Pakistani media later said Jatoi was speaking in a personal capacity and not officially.

    Jatoi's resignation comes just after Gilani cancelled a trip to Europe amid media speculation about a possible change of government, following a perceived mishandling of severe floods.

    There is speculation that the military could remove the civilian government, as it did previously in 1958, 1977 and 1999. But analysts suggest such a military coup is not likely to occur.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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