Parties pledge to remove Musharraf, try others for treason
By Hassnain Rehman
LAHORE: Representatives from 16 political parties pledged to repeal all amendments introduced or being introduced by the military-government and vowed not only to remove Gen Musharraf as head of state but to also try him and others on charges of high treason.
The pledges were made on Saturday at a meeting organised by the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC). Parties that were represented included Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Nawaz and Quaid factions of the Muslim League (PML-N and PML-QA), Jamaat-e-Islami, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
Speaking on the occasion Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed spoke about his recent meetings with Mr Musharraf and said efforts for the revival of democracy must be stepped up. “No general should be allowed to impose one-man rule,” he said.
Jeay Sindh Mahaz rep Abdul Qadir Junejo said development could not be ushered in at gunpoint and condemned the Doctrine of Necessity that validates actions of the present military-government. “The 1973 constitution was not ideal,” he said.
“But it was a result of a democratic process. It involved dialogue, discussion and political compromise.”
Mehmood Ahmad Khan Achakzai of the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) asked whether Pakistan was for the army, or the army for Pakistan. Blaming the army for the socio-economic and moral devastation of the country, Mr Achakzai said the army must be made to serve the constitution not frame it or alter it.
National Awami Party (NAP) leader Ehsan Wyne said military rule led to the splintering of Pakistan in 1971 and charged the generals of being traitors and anti-Pakistani. Amendments proposed by Gen Musharraf would institutionalise a role for the army in the affairs of the state.
Sikander Hayat Mali of the PML-QA blamed fractious political parties for allowing the army excuse to impose itself. The Musharraf government has been validated by the Supreme Court and must be allowed to serve out its term, he added. “Compromises are necessary,” he said, “In order to restore democracy.” He said the people would not allow the vote to be rigged.
PBC Vice Chairman Chaudhry Ashraf Wahla, Executive Committee Chairman Abdul Haleem Pirzada and President Supreme Court Bar Association Hamid Khan also spoke on the occasion.
United they stand: The joint declaration passed by the house rejects all amendments made or being made to the constitution by the military-government and promises to undo them. The parties also rejected the April 30 presidential referendum and declared, “No legitimacy has been conferred on Gen Musharraf.” Parties also pledged to elect a presidentconstitutionally.
The joint declaration also accused the military-government and its agencies of pre-poll rigging and of changing the rules of the electoral game. It also condemned the transfers and postings of government officials and the coercive tactics being employed by intelligence agencies to browbeat political opposition. Calls for the removal of the chief election commissioner were also made and the government asked to allow international poll observers.
The polls must not be delayed and all citizens given the chance to participate, states the declaration. It also demands the immediate release of all political prisoners and the removal of the ban on political assembly and electioneering. Two amendments were made to the declaration after it was passed. The first called for trying all those that had a hand in abrogating the constitution on charges of high treason and the second, of removing Mr Musharraf through constitutional means. These amendments were not agreed upon by the PML-QA.
Other parties at the event included the Pakistan Awami Tehrik, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Millat Party, Mohajir Qaumi Movement, Junejo faction of the Muslim League, Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan Democratic Party, and PPP-Shaheed Bhutto.