Pakistan's minister of state for information technology has resigned from the cabinet in protest at plans of President Pervez Musharraf to seek re-election in uniform, media reports said Tuesday.
Ishaq Khakwani, who tendered his resignation late Monday, said he would support the president but only if he stepped down as army chief before the election by parliament that is expected before October 15.
The senior vice president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, Kabir Ali Wasti, also said he would oppose the uniformed re-election plan, further widening rifts within the military leader's power base.
The issue has also hampered back-channel talks on a power-sharing deal with exiled opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who says Musharraf must run as a civilian if he wants the support of her Pakistan People's Party.
A deal would allow Bhutto to come home and participate in elections after corruption charges against her are dropped, and likely remove obstacles to her serving a third term as prime minister.
A number of other senior members of the ruling party have voiced concerns about the matter of Musharraf's active military status.
Khakwani reportedly claimed that his view was shared by several other cabinet ministers but that Musharraf, an army general who seized power in a coup in 1999, was ignoring the dissenting voices.
Musharraf has said the issue of his uniform would be decided according to the constitution and law as he seeks another five years in power.
Close aides of the president are reportedly meeting with Bhutto in London to discuss the possibility of him stepping down as army chief before the elections.
But ministers have denied media reports of parallel talks with another exiled opposition leader and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, whom the Supreme Court in Islamabad last week ruled could return to Pakistan.
Both exiled leaders have pledged to come and lead their parties in additional elections of a new parliament that are due to be held within three months of the presidential polls.
Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2007, 12:34