LAHORE, June 9: The Awami National Party has rejected the Chenab formula that divides Kashmir on religious lines.

“It had welcomed military coup in October 1999 for Nawaz Sharif government had introduced fascism by adopting the Shariat Bill, and the military dictator had promised to promote secularism in the country.” However, the ANP was disappointed because Gen Pervez Musharraf promoted religious parties against progressive forces backing out of his promises made in his seven-point agenda he presented to the nation at that time, ANP Secretary-General Ehsan Wyne told Dawn here on Monday.

The ANP had been a long time ally of the PML-N and had parted ways with it before the coup. All progressive parties and human rights groups were concerned at the ‘new Taliban government’ established in the NWFP as a result of the army dictator’s policy, Wyne said.

“Defacing of advertisement billboards and uprooting of recreational circuses is not Shariat. It is religious fascism which is very dangerous for the country in the wake of prevailing world situation,” he said.

He said Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai during his visit to Islamabad a couple of months ago had alleged that Afghan terrorists were taking refuge in the NWFP and had submitted a list of the wanted men in this regard to the Pakistan authorities.

“The ANP’s central working committee had analysed the situation and found Gen Musharraf responsible for this rising religious fanaticism,” the senior party leader said.

About the budget, he said the country could not be run smoothly when Rs160 billion would be allocated for army and a meagre amount of Rs4 billion for education and as much for health.

He feared that the budget would result in alarming rise in poverty plunging the country into a deep crisis.

He said the poverty graph would continue to rise until the Kashmir issue was going on and allocation for the armed forced was not decreased by introducing a retrenchment plan.

He alleged that all resources of the country had been handed over to the armed forces, sparing nothing for the development of the masses over 40 per cent of whom were living below the poverty line. Welcoming initiation of talks between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, he rejected the so-called Chenab formula being presented to solve the problem.

He feared that the step would give a further push to already ‘religious fanaticism’ in the Valley ignited by New Delhi’s wrong policy of killing Kashmiris only because they were Muslims.

He said the Kashmiris must be given the right to decide about their future. “Whether they want to live with Pakistan, India or go independent, they must be allowed to do so and that is the only durable solution to the five-decade old issue.”

He criticized President Gen Musharraf for offering ‘bribe’ to the lawyers in Lahore in a bid to get support for legitimizing his unconstitutional rule and the Lahore Bar officials who had invited a dictator to their function.

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