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Army jibe costs Pak minister job

Islamabad, Sept. 26 (AP): Pakistan’s federal minister for defence production resigned after being summoned by the Prime Minister to explain comments he made criticising the army and accusing it of killing prominent politicians.

Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi had accused the army of killing several high-profile Pakistani figures, including ethnic Baluch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

“We provided the army with uniforms and boots not so that they kill their own fellow countrymen, kill Nawab Sahib (Bugti) and Benazir Bhutto,” said Jatoi during a televised media conference on Saturday night in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani later summoned Jatoi to explain his comments. He told reporters the minister made the statements “in his personal capacity, and within five or six hours he resigned”.

Information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told local TV that Jatoi’s comments were “against our policies”.

The army is widely considered the most powerful institution in Pakistan and it is risky for officials to criticise it. The military has carried out three coups against civilian governments in Pakistan and has ruled the country for much of its 63-year history.

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