Pakistan minister resigns over controversial interview

Islamabad, Aug 15 (IANS) Pakistani minister Mushahidullah Khan resigned on Saturday following a controversial interview to BBC Urdu in which he alleged that a top intelligence official had encouraged last year’s street protests.

Khan during his interview alleged that a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency had encouraged street protests last year, which Information Minister Pervez Rashid termed “irresponsible and contrary to the facts”, BBC reported.

A military spokesman said the allegations were “totally baseless”.

Khan, who serves as climate change minister, said that during last year’s street protests led by the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and cleric Tahirul Qadri, the then head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam had spoken about a plot to unseat the country’s military and civilian leadership.

Relations between Pakistan’s civilian governments and the military have often been tumultuous, with three coups since independence. Nawaz Sharif’s government took office after Pakistan’s first ever civilian transfer of power.

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