A day after criticising the military, the Pakistani minister for defence production has resigned. (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk)
On Saturday, Abdul Qayum Jatoi had told journalists that the country’s army was provided with funds to defend the country, not to get involved in political assassinations.
His comments were played repeatedly on Pakistani television channels.
He was summoned to explain his remarks by prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and resigned a shorter time later.
“We provided the army with uniforms and boots not so that they kill their own fellow countrymen, kill Nawab Sahib [Bugti] and Benazir Bhutto,” he told a news conference in the city of Quetta.
While she was campaigning in Pakistan’s presidential elections in December 2007, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.
In August 2006, tribal leader in the province of Baluchistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed in a battle between government forces and tribal militants.
1958, 1977 and 1999 mark the three times when Pakistan’s military has carried out coups against the civilian government. The military has governed the country for much of its 63-year history.
As the country’s civilian government was widely criticised for its handling of the recent floods, the media speculated on whether the Pakistani military would make a move.
But according to most analysts a coup is unlikely at the moment.
During the same news conference, Jatoi suggested that the benefits of corruption should be equally available to all.
“All groups — Sindhi, Pakhtun, Baloch, Seraiki and Punjabi – should get an equal share in corruption,” he said.