Powerful army chief resigns, opposition warns of political turmoil

kistan’s powerful army chief resigned Wednesday in a dispute over the military’s role, a surprise move that provoked concerns of political turmoil.
Opposition figures accused the government of forcing Gen. Jehangir Karamat to step down and warned that the resignation would generate political uncertainty.
“There is a genuine fear” of a government takeover by the army to protest the resignation and the appointment of a replacement who was not first in line, said Naveed Qamar, a spokesman for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples’ Party. “It is still uncertain how the military is going to react.”
The general resigned just two days after he called for the creation of a military-dominated council that would play a key role in determining government policy.
Though the military ruled Pakistan for half its 51-year history, it never took a direct role in government during periods of civilian rule, preferring to exert pressure behind the scenes.
This was the first time that an army chief of staff has resigned in Pakistan. During previous major disagreements, the army leader has simply took power and exerted his will.
At army headquarters in neighboring Rawalpindi, the resignation came as a surprise.
Karamat is to be replaced by Gen. Pervaiz Mushraf, second in line for the position of army chief of staff.
The man who was next in line was Gen. Ali Quli Khan. There was no immediate reason why he was bypassed.