MPC accuses govt of ‘sellout’ on Kashmir

Updated August 20, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties leaders Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Ahsan Iqbal, Nayyar Bokhari, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Akram Durrani, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Mian Iftikhar and Amir Haider Khan during a press conference after the MPC on Monday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad / White Star
ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties leaders Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Ahsan Iqbal, Nayyar Bokhari, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Akram Durrani, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Mian Iftikhar and Amir Haider Khan during a press conference after the MPC on Monday. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad / White Star

ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition’s multi-party conference (MPC) has accused the government of “selling out” Kashmir under an ‘‘international conspiracy’’ and vowed to lock down the federal capital in the near future to topple the government.

“All opposition parties have decided to reach Islamabad,” MPC’s convener and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said during a press conference.

He said the opposition’s Rehbar Committee had been tasked with the preparation of a charter of demands (CoD) in a week “so that we could have something in hand before locking down Islamabad”.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif did not attend the conference. However, other leaders of the two main opposition parties turned up. Among them were Farhatullah Babar, Sherry Rehman and Nayyar Hussain Bokhari of the PPP and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal of the PML-N.

At the joint press conference with Ahsan Iqbal and Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Maulana Fazl said the Rehbar Committee of the joint opposition would meet on Aug 26 and come up with a CoD and another MPC would take place on Aug 29 in which the demands would be reviewed by the heads of main opposition parties.

“Today the joint opposition has decided to launch a movement which will end with the ouster of the government,” he added.

In reply to a question about the three-year extension given to Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, the JUI-F chief said it was a normal practice. “Giving extension to a government servant is a routine matter and it should be taken as such. It has nothing to do with politics,” he added.

Talking about the change in India-held Kashmir’s special status, Maulana Fazl alleged that the government had “sold out Kashmir under an international conspiracy”.

“The present situation gives rise to fears that it might have been decided in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meeting with US President Donald Trump last month that Pakistan will keep silent if India decides to change the fate of Kashmir,” he said.

“Today the people of Pakistan and Kashmiris are the victims of an international conspiracy and the government is part of it. Our rulers have stabbed Kashmiris in the back,” he added.

He said the government was aware of fact that the change in occupied Kashmir’s status had been proposed in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election manifesto, but the government did nothing to prevent it.

Maulana Fazl, however, assured the Kashmiris that the Pakistani nation and the opposition were with them and there would be no effect on their freedom movement.

“Today the strategic position of Kashmir has been changed. Yesterday we were thinking of how to get Srinagar, but today we are worried about how to protect Muzzafarabad,” he added.

In reply to a question about the PTI-led government’s one- year rule, he said the opposition was convinced that it had plunged the country into multiple crises and the country was facing the worst economic crunch in its history.

Asked if Bilawal Bhutto and Shahbaz Sharif had left him alone in the movement against the government, Maulana Fazl said the PPP chief could not attend the MPC due to other engagements, while the PML-N president had some health problem.

“People are fed up with price hike, the youth have no jobs, traders are complaining about undue taxes and doctors, lawyers and people from all walks of life are in trouble,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019