12 Jan 2012

Pakistan PM sacks defence secretary

6:50 am on 12 January 2012

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has sacked his defence secretary, accusing him of gross misconduct.

The dismissal of retired general Naeem Khalid Lodhi is likely to heighten tension between Pakistan's civilian government and military leaders, the BBC reports.

General Lodhi, who is seen as having close ties to the military, recently wrote to the Supreme Court saying the government had administrative, but not operational, control of the army.

State media said he lost his job for creating misunderstanding between state institutions.

The sacking was announced just hours after the armed forces criticised the prime minister for a recent media interview.

On Monday, Mr Gilani was quoted telling China's People's Daily Online that Pakistan's army chief and head of intelligence acted unconstitutionally by making submissions to a Supreme Court inquiry which has been rocking the government.

The militay hit back with a strongly-worded statement saying the allegation had very serious ramifications with "potentially grievous consequences for the country", though it did not state what these might be.