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Key Islamic Party Quits Pakistan Government

Pakistan's most prominent Islamic politician has withdrawn his party from the coalition government, protesting against the sacking of a cabinet minister.

Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) faction, branded as "disappointing" Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's decision to sack Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, a JUIF member.

Gilani earlier in the day sacked Kazmi and minister for science and technology, Azam Khan Swati, after a public row between the two cabinet members over a corruption scandal.

JUIF has seven lawmakers in the 342-member national assembly, 22 in the upper house, and had three ministers in the cabinet.

Rehman also announced that the other two JUIF cabinet ministers were leaving the government.

compiled from agency reports