Gilani sacks 2 ministers

Ally Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam pulls out of ruling coalition

But, official sources said the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s decision will not affect the ruling Pakistan People’s Party coalition as it continues to have a majority in the 242-member National Assembly or Lower House of Parliament.

Gilani removed Science and Technology Minister Azam Swati, one of the three JUI nominees in the federal cabinet, and Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi from their portfolios, an official statement issued by the prime minister’s office said.

However, it did not give any reason for their sacking. The move came against the backdrop of a suo motu case initiated by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry after he received several complaints about irregularities in the renting of accommodation for Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia.

Sources said the two ministers had been sacked after they failed to heed Gilani’s directive not to trade charges in public over the Haj scam.

Swati, who belongs to the J UI headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, appeared in the Supreme Court on Monday  to provide what he claimed was evidence of Kazmi’s alleged involvement in corruption in the management of Haj affairs.

Sources said Gilani had sacked both ministers despite pressure from within his Pakistan People’s Party headed by President Asif Ali Zardari and the JUI not to remove them. Kazmi is a senior leader of the PPP.

Hours after the sacking, the JUI, which has nine members in the National Assembly and 11 in the Senate or Upper House of Parliament, announced it was pulling out of the coalition.

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