PONM opposes meeting with president
By Irfan Ali
KARACHI: PONM, an alliance of nationalist parties, has opposed meeting with President General Pervez Musharraf without formal invitation and a clear agenda.
Sources in the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement disclosed to the Daily Times that veteran nationalist leader Mumtaz Ali Bhutto conveyed to the PONM that the president wanted a meeting with it. “The PONM leadership is of the view that there should be no meeting with President Musharraf through a middleman and if the president wants a meeting with us, he should invite us formally and with a clear agenda,” said a Karachi-based leader of the PONM, who asked not to be named.
The sources said Mr Bhutto became active recently and met unified PML president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. They were of the view that Mr Bhutto could have been seeking a role after an expected change in the political set-up. They said the PONM’s component parties felt that Mr Bhutto wanted a meeting between the president and the PONM for this purpose.
It is also learnt that some Sindhi nationalist parties that are components of the PONM have made clear to the leadership not to meet President Musharraf in this manner.
Mr Bhutto’s Sindh National Front (SNF) had formally quit the PONM, but his party’s secretary-general, Gul Mohammed Jakhrani, representing Mr Bhutto has been actively participating in PONM programmes. The SNF hosted a conference of five nationalist parties on March 10, which had agreed with the idea of a “joint struggle” on Sindh’s “genuine” issues.