ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's opposition leader says the country's army should stop interfering in domestic and foreign affairs of the civilian government, in a rare criticism of the powerful military.
The remarks Friday by Nawaz Sharif appear aimed at capitalizing on popular anger at the army in the wake of the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden last month.
Sharif told reporters that the army should stop its "dominance of Pakistan's foreign policy" and stop favoring "one particular party" in Afghanistan.
His comments could open up a new and unpredictable faultline between one of the country's most popular politicians and the powerful military.
National elections are scheduled for 2013, and many analysts believe Sharif's party is likely to win.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The U.S. says it has almost completed a reduction in its military personnel in Pakistan requested by the Pakistani government.
U.S. Vice Adm. Michael LeFever, chief of the office of the defense representative in Pakistan, did not provide specific numbers in Friday's statement.
A senior Pakistani military official said earlier this week that Pakistan's army has sent home 90 U.S. military personnel out of a total of 135 who were training its forces in counterinsurgency skills. He asked not to be named in accordance with military practice.
The reduction is the latest setback in the troubled relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan following the May 2 American raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
LeFever said the U.S. remains ready to help Pakistan with security if asked.