Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam to pull out of Pakistan`s PPP coalition
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 00:48
Islamabad: The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party on Tuesday announced it was pulling out of the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling coalition over the sacking of one of its ministers by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but the move is unlikely to affect the government.

"The PPP has moved away from its policy of reconciliation by taking a one-side step. Therefore, it is not possible for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam to continue as a partner in the government," party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said.

"It has been decided that JUI's two other federal ministers will also resign immediately," Rehman told reporters after a meeting of the JUI's parliamentary party this evening.

The two ministers subsequently submitted their resignations to the Prime Minister.

Rehman, who has often threatened to quit the government in the past two years, said his decision to quit the coalition was "final".

He criticised the government for sacking Science and Technology Minister Azam Khan Swati, who belongs to the party,and claimed the PPP had often ignored his views on key issues.

Official sources said Rehman's decision would not affect the ruling coalition as it would continue to have a majority in the 242-member National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

The coalition includes 126 members from the PPP, 13 from the Awami National Party, 25 from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, five from the PML-F and 11 lawmakers from the tribal belt, they said.

The JUI has nine members in the National Assembly and 11 in the Senate or upper house of parliament.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Gilani sacked Science and Technology Minister Azam Khan Swati, who belongs to the JUI, and Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who is from the PPP, over a corruption scandal in the hiring of accommodation for Haj pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

The two ministers were removed after they engaged in a public spat over the scam despite being directed by the Prime Minister not to make statements against each other.

Reports have suggested that the JUI was targeting Kazmi in the hope of getting the Religious Affairs portfolio.


First Published: Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 00:48

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