Fazl for MMA-ARD anti-Musharraf move
* Says prospects of a meeting with prime minister cannot be ruled out
* Protest on passport issue on December 24
ISLAMABAD: The central executive committee of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam: Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) on Tuesday recommended that the supreme council of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) should start the next phase of its protest campaign against President General Pervez Musharraf with the cooperation of Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD).
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the opposition, said that the CEC of the JUI-F had decided to recommend to the supreme council of the six religious parties’ alliance to take the ARD into confidence before starting the second phase of a protest campaign against General Musharraf on the uniform issue.
The supreme council is scheduled to meet on December 24.
“A meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in the near future cannot be ruled out,” Fazl said at a press conference. He said that before holding a meeting with the prime minister, he would take the leadership of the MMA into confidence but there would be no specific agenda of the meeting. “There will be no discussion with the government on settled issues and if I visit the prime minister it would be a reciprocal meeting in response to the earlier meeting when he came to the chamber of the leader of the opposition in the parliament,” he added.
He also denied rumours that the ARD was not serious about launching a joint protest campaign. He condemned the arrest of Asif Ali Zardari as unjust because he had already spent eight years in jail.
He said that CEC had also prepared proposals for the next phase of the anti uniform campaign, which would be presented in the supreme council meeting of the MMA.
Fazl added that the CEC had proposed to the general council of the JUI-F to amend the constitution of the party and to establish a women’s and minority wing of the party.
He said that it had been decided that the JUI-F would participate in the upcoming local government’s election and would honour the announcements of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, president of the MMA, made in the protest gathering held in the Rawalpindi.
He said the MMA would demonstrate across the country on December 24 on the issue of the deletion of the religion column from computerised passports. He said the MMA would also celebrate a black day on January 1, 2005 if the General Musharraf would not hang up his uniform by December 31, 2004.
Replying to a question, Fazl said that the MMA did not boycott the National Security Council (NSC) meeting because it was decided during his meeting with the prime minister that the MMA would participate in the NSC meeting only if the government addressed the MMA’s concerns.
He said that the CEC had formed an 11-member committee under the chairmanship of Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, deputy secretary general of the MMA, to resolve the issue of the deletion of the religion column from new passports. “National reconciliation is necessary but there is no need to hold fresh elections in the country for national reconciliation,” he said.