Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday sacked Secretary Defence Khalid Naeem Lodhi, DawnNews reported. In a related development, the army chief summoned an emergency meeting of the corps commanders.

The prime minister revoked Lodhi's contract and handed over the additional charge of secretary defence to Nargis Sethi. Furthermore, DawnNews quoted sources as saying that the military high command had appointed Brigadier Sarfaraz Ali commander of the 111 brigade.

Prime Minister Gilani's office said in a statement that Lodhi was fired for “gross misconduct and illegal action which created misunderstanding” between state institutions.

The army earlier said the defence ministry had failed to process its submissions made to a Supreme Court inquiry into a controversial unsigned memo that sought US help in curbing the power of the military.

That failure triggered a row between the country's military and civilian leadership, with the prime minister earlier in the week telling Chinese media the army top brass had acted unlawfully in failing to consult it.

Moreover, Lodhi was regarded as having more power than the defence minister because of his direct ties to the army high command.