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.

PTI



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

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