Dawn News

PML-N not to attend conference convened by PM

ISLAMABAD, Sept 20: Although all political parties are condemning the anti-Islam film, they will not be presenting a united front when Yaum-i-Ishq-i-Rasool (Love for the Prophet day) is observed on Friday (today).

The main opposition parties have decided not to attend the government-sponsored conference called by Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf at the Convention Centre in Islamabad.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Thursday that political motives appeared to be behind the violent protests which took place in the country, particularly in the capital.

The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) said the party would continue to stick to its decision of boycotting government functions.

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) said its leaders would attend its own programmes because it had announced its plan to observe Friday as the protest day much before government’s decision. The Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf said it had not received any official invitation from the government for the conference convened by the prime minister.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf invited the heads of all political parties on Wednesday to join him at the Convention Centre to demonstrate solidarity on the issue.

PML-N’s media coordinator Asim Khan told Dawn the decision to boycott the government-sponsored conference had been taken at a meeting in Lahore.He said leaders of the party were unanimous that the PML-N should stay away from the official function.

Mr Khan said the leadership had already directed the party’s divisional and city chapters to hold peaceful demonstrations on Friday.

He said the PML-N believed when everyone was protesting there was no need to become a part of any official gathering.

JUI-F general secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said he had informed the government that his party would not be attending the official conference because it had chalked out its own plan for the day.

Maulana Haideri said he himself would participate in a rally in Lahore whereas Maulana Fazlur Rehman would be attending a demonstration in Swat.

PTI information secretary Shafqat Mehmood said no-one from the government had contacted the party so far or extended an invitation to the leadership to attend the conference and they had come to know about it only through the media.

Interestingly, when the protocol and information sections in the Prime Minister’s House were contacted no-one there was aware if any official invitation had been sent to the heads of the political parties in line with Mr Ashraf’s announcement.


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