Pakistan minister resigns over remarks against military
Islamabad: Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said one of his defence ministers had resigned Sunday in a controversy over remarks the minister had made about the country`s military.
In comments reported by Pakistani media, Defence Production Minister Abdul Qayum Jatoi had implied Saturday that the army was responsible for the deaths of civilians and politicians including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Gilani said had summoned Jatoi to a meeting on Saturday evening to explain the remarks.
"The minister made his remarks in his personal capacity and resigned four to five hours later," Gilani told reporters.
However, the state-run Pakistan Television said Jatoi had resigned during his meeting with the prime minister.
"During the meeting, Mr Jatoi said that he had given the statement in his own capacity and his aim was not to hurt any institution," the television channel reported.
Jatoi`s comments, made in the southwestern city of Quetta, were repeatedly telecast by private TV channels in Pakistan.
"We provided the army with uniforms and boots, not to kill their own countrymen, kill Nawab Akbar Bugti and Benazir Bhutto," Jatoi said.
Bugti, a rebel Baluch tribal chieftain, was killed in a military operation in August 2006 and Baluch nationalists have accused former military ruler Pervez Musharraf of ordering his execution.
Bhutto was killed in a gun and suicide attack in the garrison town of Rawalpindi in December 2007.
Local English daily The News also quoted Jatoi as saying: "Not only politicians should be blamed for corruption, rather (army) generals and judges should also be held responsible."
Pakistan`s powerful military has ruled the country for over half of the number of years since it achieved independence from Britain in 1947.
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