BAGHDAD (AFP) - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called for MPs to withdraw confidence from one of his deputies on Sunday in the latest in a deepening political crisis. Meanwhile, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi was escorted off a plane at Baghdad airport and two of his bodyguards were arrested on "terrorism charges". Hashemi, a minority Sunni, belongs to the same party as Saleh al-Mutlak, also a Sunni and the deputy prime minister Maliki wanted sacked. Sunday's events came a day after the pair's Iraqiya bloc said it was boycotting parliament in protest over the premier's alleged centralisation of power, and with the US military having finished its pullout from Iraq. "The prime minister sent an official letter to parliament, asking it to withdraw its confidence in Saleh al-Mutlak after his recent statements," Ali Mussawi, media adviser to Maliki, told AFP. Mutlak, who had been accused of being a supporter of Saddam's outlawed Baath party in the run-up to March 2010 elections that he was barred from standing in, told CNN on Tuesday that Washington was leaving Iraq "with a dictator". And in a separate interview with his own Babiliyah satellite television channel, Mutlak charged: "Maliki is worse than Saddam Hussein, because the latter was a builder, but Maliki has done absolutely nothing." Sunday evening, security forces led Hashemi off an Iraqi Airways flight bound for Arbil and Sulaimaniyah in the northern autonomous Kurdish region, before arresting two of his guards, officials and a witness said. "Two of Hashemi's bodyguards have arrest warrants against them on terrorism charges," a high-ranking security official told AFP on condition of anonymity. "We arrested those two bodyguards, and Hashemi is at the airport now." An official in the presidency office confirmed Hashemi was at Baghdad airport and had been led off the plane by security, but did not specify why. Hiwa Osman, a Kurdish journalist and blogger and a passenger on the plane, told AFP that the flight, scheduled to depart at 5:30 pm (1430 GMT), had been ready to go when officials boarded. "Somebody came on board and wanted to check their identification, and asked them to leave the plane, and they left," Osman said. "Afterwards, they told us all to get off the plane." Earlier, a security official told AFP that 10 of Hashemi's guards were detained over the past two weeks in connection with terror attacks. Hashemi's office and spokespeople for Iraqiya did not respond to AFP requests for comment. A judicial spokesman also did not respond to multiple requests for comment. On Saturday, Iraqiya, which emerged as the largest bloc in March 2010 elections and has 82 lawmakers in the 325-seat parliament, issued a statement saying it was suspending its participation in parliament to protest what it said was Maliki's centralisation of decision-making. Iraqiya, which garnered most of its support from Iraq's Sunni Arab minority, was out-manoeuvred for the premiership by Maliki, who, after finishing second in the elections, struck a deal with another group to broaden his power base and lead the government. The bloc, which controls nine ministerial posts, has not pulled out of Iraq's national unity government. Iraqiya said the government's actions, which it claimed included stationing tanks and armoured vehicles outside the houses of its leaders in the heavily-fortified Green Zone, "drives people to want to rid themselves of the strong arm of central power as far as the constitution allows them to."