Former Pakistan PMs quit party posts over anti-army remarks

Islamabad, June 18 (IANS) Two former Pakistani prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Yousuf Raza Gilani, have voluntarily resigned from their positions in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Gilani and Ashraf, who have been serving as the PPP’s vice chairman and general secretary respectively, decided to resign during the meeting of party’s Central Executive Council at the Bilawal House in Karachi on Wednesday evening, Geo News reported.

According to sources within the meeting, Raja Pervez Ashraf was critical of Asif Ali Zardari’s remarks which many saw as an attack on the country’s military establishment.

“It was not appropriate for the former president to criticise the armed forces of Pakistan,” sources quoted him as saying.

“Everybody holds (Pakistan army chief) Gen. Raheel Shairf in high regard and leaders of political parties must not be in collision course with national institutions,” sources quoted Ashraf as saying.

Addressing party workers in Peshawar on Tuesday, Zardari warned against character assassination of the PPP, saying if they started doing the same then no one would be spared, including army generals. “The army is our institution,” he added.

However, he did not specify what kind of character assassination he was referring to.

Gilani told the meeting that the resignations were tendered so that Bilawal could avoid difficulties in reorganisation of the party, sources added.

Gilani served Pakistan as the 16th prime minister from March 25, 2008, until his retroactive disqualification and ouster by the apex court of the country on April 26, 2012.

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