MMA ‘fact-finding mission’ denied entry to Tribal Areas
By Ghafar Ali
PESHAWAR: A group of ten Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) parliamentarians on its way to South Waziristan Agency on a “fact-finding mission” about the Pakistan Army operation against Al Qaeda suspects was prevented from entering the tribal area by the agency administration.
The MMA MPs said this showed the government had something to hide, but the political administration said the MMA could not be allowed in to carry out “political activities”.
The MMA mission, consisting of Liaqat Baloch, Maulana Shujaul Mulk, Maulana Nek Zaman, Asadullah Bhutto, Gul Muhammad Dummar, Qazi Hamidullah, Shabir Ahmad Khan, Maulana Mirajuddin, Maulvi Abdul Malik and Maulana Attaur Rehman, was stopped near Jandola at the South Waziristan border. They returned to Tank where they held a press conference.
Mr Baloch told journalists that the MMA delegation had no plan to demonstrate, but just wanted the facts about the ongoing operation against Al Qaeda suspects in the agency. “We wanted to see whether the operation was against Al Qaeda or whether there were other reasons behind it,” he said.
He said the political administration’s refusal to allow them in was a clear indication the operation was meant to “oppress the local people”. The agency authorities do not want the nation to know what is really going on in the guise of an operation against Al Qaeda, he said.
Mr Baloch said the operation was against the national interest and should be stopped immediately. The political administrator of the agency told journalists the MPs were stopped because the Political Parties Act had not been extended to the tribal areas, so the MMA delegation could not carry out political activities. He said the MMA parliamentarians did not have permission from the government to enter the area either.
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