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NY Times, Kayani pushed for govt shake-up

1 gilani kayani zardariNEW YORK: The Pakistani military, ‘angered by the inept handling’ of devastating floods and alarmed by a collapse of the economy, is pushing for a shake-up of the elected government, and in the longer term, even the removal of President Asif Ali Zardari and his top lieutenants, the New York Times said on Wednesday.

It said that in a meeting on Monday which was played on the front page of Pakistan’s newspapers, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani confronted the president and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani over ‘incompetence and corruption’ in the government.

The Times quoting officials familiar with the conversation as saying the general demanded that they dismiss at least some ministers in the oversized 60-member cabinet, many of whom face corruption charges.

The civilian government, the newspaper said, had so far resisted the general’s demand. But the meeting was widely interpreted by the media as a rebuke to the civilian politicians and as having pushed the government to the brink, the newspaper said.

After the meeting, the president’s office issued a statement, approved by all the men, saying they had agreed “to protect the democratic process and to resolve all issues in accordance with the constitution.”

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