Minister sacked over army slur

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Pakistan's minister for defence production has resigned after being summoned by the prime minister to explain comments he made criticising the army and accusing it of killing politicians.

Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi accused the army of killing several high-profile 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 Mr Jatoi during a press conference in Quetta.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister, told reporters that the minister made his statements "in his personal capacity, and within five or six hours he resigned".

The army, which has carried out three coups against civilian governments, is the most powerful institution in Pakistan and it is risky for officials to criticise it.