MMA will protest if Musharraf does not shed uniform: Baloch
LAHORE: The religious alliance will observe black day across Pakistan on January 1 by staging peaceful protest demonstrations and sit-ins if President General Pervez Musharraf does not shed his uniform by December 31, said MNA Liaqat Baloch, the deputy secretary general of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, he said that MMA activists would hoist black flags on their houses, wear black ribbons and hold public meetings. Cleric and district bar association seminars and briefing sessions with senior journalists, editors and writers would also be held after January 1, he said.
Baloch urged President Musharraf to shed his military uniform in accordance with the 17th Amendment agreement made with the MMA. “President Musharraf’s status as the president and the chief of army staff will become unconstitutional after December 31,” he said.
He said that the MMA would neither accept military supremacy nor the civil bureaucracy over the constitution and democracy. “We will not compromise on the country’s Islamic ideology and identity,” he added.
Baloch said the MMA central leadership would announce the next phase of the anti-uniform movement after January 1. “A six-member committee has already been constituted to contact all opposition parties for a joint struggle,” he said.
He said that the MMA would also present a charge sheet to the nation against the government’s failure and its deviation from Islamic and ideological principles after January 1.
Asked about the meeting between Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the MMA secretary general, and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Baloch said that the supreme council of the religious alliance had allowed Fazl to meet the prime minister because the MMA was not against holding meetings with the ruling party. “However, the MMA will not compromise on the issues it has already settled with the government,” he said.
Baloch said that the doors of dialogue and negotiations should not be closed in politics, but the religious alliance, while maintaining its tradition, had always informed people through the media about its talks and negotiations with the ruling party and opposition parties. Asked about contact with the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), he said that the MMA was holding talks with the ARD leadership to launch a joint movement. “Top leaders are meeting on Thursday in Islamabad to decide the future line of action against the government,” he added.