Rift stirs fears of military coup in Pakistan

Fears of a coup in Pakistan increased Wednesday when the military warned of “potentially grievous consequences” after the prime minister criticized the army chief and the head of the country’s spy agency.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani responded immediately by firing Defense Secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi, a retired lieutenant general. He accused Mr. Lodhi of “gross misconduct and illegal action” that created a misunderstanding that brought the army’s rebuke.

The military, in a statement, warned Mr. Gilani of “serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences,” after he criticized army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in an interview with a Chinese news website.

Gen. Kayani has called an emergency meeting of top military commanders for Thursday.

Generals and politicians share a tense relationship in Pakistan, which has been ruled by four military dictatorships since independence in 1947....

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