Govt leveling ground for US attacks in NWFP: JI leader
LAHORE: The government is paving the way for direct US aggression in NWFP under the pretext of its anti-terrorism policy, said Syed Munawar Hassan, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) secretary general, while speaking at the Media Elites Forum (Mehfil) on Tuesday.
“US statements that Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden is in the Afghan-Pakistan border area indicates the US thinks of NWFP as the hub of the Al Qaeda network,” he said. Hassan said that the expected military operation in North Waziristan, following attacks on South Waziristan, to hunt terrorists should be debated in parliament prior to any attack.
He said that while the government was purchasing vehicles for VVIPs, 54 million Pakistanis lived below the poverty line with no access to medical, educational, sanitation or clean water facilities.
Hassan said that the government’s claims that it was removing the VVIP culture and spending on poor people were false. “The government purchased 22 Mercedes Benz cars worth Rs 1.8 billion in the last three years. 41 cars including 31 Mercedes are already being used by VVIPs and now a Mercedes car worth Rs 11 million is being purchased for the National Assembly speaker,” he added.
He claimed that World Bank and International Monetary Fund teams would prepare Pakistan’s budget. He said that the government tried to control the high budget deficits of the last five years by increasing sales tax and tariffs on oil, electricity and gas. But this also increased poverty and corruption, he added.
Hassan urged the government to reduce poverty, combat tax-evasion, reduce sales tax by up to 5-6 percent, and cut the price of petroleum, electricity and gas.
Hassan said that confidence-building measures (CBMs) like the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service and exchange of Kashmiri families would not solve the Kashmir issue, but the departure of the Indian army from Kashmir, canceling Indian ‘black laws’ and ‘state terrorism’ would. “Both countries should give up their stands on Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide independently in line with UN resolutions,” he added. He urged India to stop killing Kashmiris and violating their human rights.
He said that the Kashmir issue and the possibility of the PML-N joining the MMA would be discussed at the MMA’s supreme council meeting in Lahore on April 30. staff report