Religious alliance seeks people’s support for strike on April 2: MMA marches in Peshawar today
* Liaqat Baloch says Sajid Mir will contest Senate deputy chair poll
* Says PPPP’s response has raised concerns among political parties
By Mohammad Imran
ISLAMABAD: A caravan of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) will leave Hasanabdal for Peshawar today (Monday) to hold its last million-man march as part of the current anti-Musharraf drive.
“The second phase of the protest campaign against President General Pervez Musharraf will be completed with the million-man march,” Liaqat Baloch, MMA deputy secretary general, told reporters.
Seeking support for the MMA’s wheel jam strike on April 2, he appealed to people to stay at home to make the strike successful. “The MMA has already called for a wheel jam strike in the country, against government polices and the increase in petroleum prices,” he added. He said the MMA local leadership would hold meetings with farmers, traders and transporters and urge them to participate in the strike.
He said previous protest gatherings held in Karachi, Lahore and Quetta were a great success and had put pressure on the government. “The president and Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi also held public gatherings to defuse the pressure but it created more difficulties for them,” he added.
On the Balochistan situation, he said the government should immediately stop the military operation in Balochistan and South Waziristan. “The government should resolve the issue politically. Pakistan Muslim League’s (PML) Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Syed should share the details of their meeting with Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti with members of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan,” he said.
He said MMA Senior Vice-President Senator Prof Sajid Mir would contest the election for the Senate deputy chairman seat. “The MMA leadership is contacting other opposition parties to seek their support for Sajid Mir. Some senators from the treasury benches have also assured their support for the MMA candidate,” he said.
About a joint protest movement by the MMA and the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), Mr Baloch said that both alliances had already agreed on three points: no political party would accept any general in future, the restoration of the 1973 Constitution and the establishment of an independent election commission. “But the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP)’s cold response has increased concerns among other political parties,” he added.
Mr Baloch said the president’s recent statements about the PPPP in which he supported its moderate and enlightened posture had also raised many questions in the minds of the public, he said. The MMA leader demanded the government immediately announce a schedule for the local government elections and hold them on a party basis. “The government should also hold the local bodies elections in cantonments and Islamabad,” he said.
Mr Baloch said the US announcement to sell F-16 fighter planes to Pakistan indicated that the US wanted to roll back Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Durrani and his cabinet won’t participate in march
PESHAWAR: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s (MMA) is using all resources to urge people to participate in the gathering to make the million-man march more successful than the other two held in Karachi and Lahore, Daily Times has learnt. Though NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani and his cabinet members had decided to stay away from the march, Provincial Senior Minister Sirajul Haq will be there in the capacity of provincial amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the major components of the six-party religious alliance. An 80-feet long stage has been prepared on main GT Road in front of the office of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). The MMA local leadership on Thursday sent letters to prayer leaders directing them to read them during Friday sermons and asked people to show their distrust for Gen Musharraf’s ‘anti-Islamic’ policies by participating in the march. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other MMA leaders will start their march from Rawalpindi and people from various districts will receive them at the Khairabad Bridge. However, the main reception will be given to them near Tarnab farm just outside Peshawar. Then they will march to the main venue where they will speak to the people. ghafar ali