Pakistani Minister Resigns After Criticizing Army

September 27, 2010
Pakistan's minister for defense production has resigned after airing pointed grievances of the country's military and hinting at its involvement in the assassination of a former prime minister.

During a televised press conference on September 25, Abdul Qayum Jatoi said the Pakistani Army was provided with funds to defend the country, not to get involved in political assassinations.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reportedly summoned Jatoi to explain his remarks.

Jatoi resigned a short time later.

He cited ethnic Baluch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, who was killed in a 2006 military operation, and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 after speaking at an election rally shortly after her return from exile.

Western observers routinely question the Pakistani military's dedication to civilian rule.

But tensions are particularly high as a showdown looms between the judiciary and supporters of embattled President Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower and a longtime target of corruption allegations.
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