Accessibility links

Pakistan's Prime Minister Resigns - 2004-06-26

Pakistan's Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali has resigned from office.

The move comes after months of speculation that Prime Minister Jamali's relationship with President Pervez Musharraf had strained.

The two leaders met earlier Saturday to discuss the situation. Officials say Mr. Jamali tendered his resignation to the president at that meeting.

But Mr. Jamali announced his resignation and the dissolution of his cabinet later in the evening at the headquarters of his ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League in Islamabad.

"I resigned from my post as Prime minister today," Mr. Jamali told a big gathering of his party leaders, workers and journalists as well.

He said he hopes his decision will help Pakistan's political process that was set in motion after national elections in October 2002.

Mr. Jamali also nominated Chaudhry Shujjat Hussain, the head of the ruling PML party, to succeed him as prime minister.

The party's secretary-general Mushahid Hussain, says that Mr. Jamali's resignation will not lead to any political uncertainty in the country.

"Within the party there were discussions, there were consultations and finally the decision was taken in a very honorable, voluntary and dignified manner that Mr. Jamali tendered his resignation," he said. "The decision meets with the complete unanimity and support of the entire Pakistan Muslim League and the ruling coalition parties as well."

Observers say President Musharraf, who took power in a military coup in 1999, was unhappy at Mr. Jamali's inability to deal with parliamentary opposition and effectively implement reform programs that Mr. Musharraf introduced during his three years of military rule.

The military president held parliamentary elections in October 2002 under international pressure to return Pakistan to democratic rule. But his influence manipulated election rules to ensure the pro-military party of Mr. Jamali wins the elections.

Mr. Musharraf also introduced controversial changes in the constitution that allowed him to remain president until at least 2007 and also remain the army chief. Mr. Jamali's government and its allies in gave parliamentary approval to those changes to make them permanent.

The constitutional amendments give President Musharraf powers to dismiss the prime minister and parliament if he chooses.