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Asia-pacific

Pakistan PM sacks national security adviser

Latest update : 2009-01-08

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (pictured) has dismissed his national security adviser for a "lack of coordination on matters of national security". The move comes after weeks of tension in India following the militant attacks in Mumbai.

AFP - Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired his national security advisor late Wednesday, amid an escalation in tensions with India in the wake of the deadly Mumbai attacks.
  
Mahmud Ali Durrani was sacked for his "irresponsible behaviour for not taking the prime minister and other stakeholders into confidence, and a lack of coordination on matters of national security," a statement from Gilani's office said.
  
An aide to Gilani told AFP the decision to remove the retired general, a former US ambassador, was made "with immediate effect". The aide did not give a specific reason for Durrani's sacking.
  
Durrani was appointed to the key position after the Pakistan People's Party took power in early 2008. He had maintained a low profile during his tenure.
  
Pakistan's private Geo television station quoted Gilani as saying Durrani had made unauthorised comments to the media confirming that the lone surviving Mumbai attacker was a Pakistani national.
  
India has said for weeks that Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman -- also known as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab -- was a Pakistani national, but Islamabad had refused to confirm it, saying he did not appear in the national citizen database.
  
After Durrani apparently made comments to the media about the issue, Pakistan's foreign ministry and Information Minister Sherry Rehman confirmed Kasab's nationality.
  
"Kasab is from Pakistan but investigations are ongoing," Rehman told AFP in a text message.
  
The confirmation came two days after India said it had provided new evidence about links between the Mumbai attackers and "elements in Pakistan".
  
On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused "some official agencies" in Pakistan of involvement in the November 26-29 attacks on India's financial centre, which left 174 dead including nine of the gunmen.
  
India maintains that all 10 militants came from Pakistan, and blames the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for the carnage.
  
The sacking of Durrani comes amid the ongoing turmoil between India and Pakistan, and as US President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office in less than two weeks.
  
Durrani was believed in political circles to be close to the United States, and did not enjoy widespread support within the government and the armed forces, according to official sources.
  

Date created : 2009-01-07

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