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PESHAWAR: Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) general secretary Liaquat Baloch has said that establishment should give up its past practices of pressurising people for changing political loyalties ahead of general elections.

“Like [in the] past, our establishment is forcing people before the upcoming elections to change their loyalties and join a specific political party,” he told a press conference here on Wednesday.

Mr Baloch said that establishment had been doing that practice for the last seven decades. He said that establishment had created Convention League to facilitate victory of Field Marshal Ayub Khan. He added that Gen Ziaul Haq and Gen Pervez Musharraf also followed their predecessors’ policies.

“As general elections are around the corner, our establishment is forcing people to change loyalties and join a specific political party,” said Mr Baloch. He said that such tactics did not serve national interest. He urged judiciary and Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure free and fair polls in the country.

MMA leader says alliance will perform well in upcoming elections

Flanked by JUI-F general secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and other central leaders of the five-party alliance, Mr Baloch asked prime minister and leader of opposition to announce name of the caretaker prime minister at the earliest to avoid confusion.

When asked about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s demand for formation of a national commission in light of the recent treason allegations against him, the MMA leader said that a person, who had served as prime minister three times, should be very careful in giving statements on sensitive issues.

He condemned brutalities of Israeli forces against Palestinians in West Bank and killing of 60 protesters in the firing.

He also blasted US President Trump for opening embassy in Jerusalem.

He appreciated the stance of Turkey for calling back its ambassador from Israel and summoning conference of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to discuss the atrocities of Israeli forces.

Mr Baloch said that such matters needed proper investigations to fix responsibilities. Responding to another question, he said that MMA was in contact with other religious-political parties to make them part of the alliance.

He was confident that MMA would perform well in the next elections and would bag maximum seats.

Mr Baloch said that the alliance would submit application with ECP for allotment of book to it as election symbol. He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was more important for MMA in the next elections and the alliance would run very aggressive campaign during and after holy month of Ramazan.

He said that MMA would organise Quran conferences and Iftar parties during Ramazan. After Eid, he said, MMA would hold rallies in Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta and other major cities while train march to Karachi would also be organised. He said that unity among religious parties had worried secular forces.

Mr Baloch said that organisational structure of MMA was completed in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.

The provincial council of MMA in KP also met on Wednesday and appointed office-bearers. Provincial chief of JUI-F Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan was appointed provincial head of the alliance in KP.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2018