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Protests held against Interpol notices

February 05, 2006

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MUZAFFARABAD, Feb 4: Pakistan People’s Party Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday observed a ‘black day’ to protest the issuance of red notices against PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari by the Interpol on the request of the Pakistan government.

The event , marked by rallies, demonstration and public meetings, in different parts of the state, came a day before the Kashmir Solidarity Day celebrations.

In Muzaffarabad, protestors were led by PPAJK president Sahibzada Mohammad Ishaq Zaffar. They marched on a main road, holding black flags and placards and raising slogans in favour of Benazir Bhutto and against President Musharraf.

They held a public meeting off the main road outside the devastated State Guest House. Various speakers condemned the Interpol action and alleged that it had been “instigated by the military-led regime”. They called for its immediate withdrawal.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Zaffar who is also a member of the AJK Legislative Assembly, said that the Interpol notices were part of an unrelenting slanderous government campaign to prevent the PPP leadership from returning to Pakistan.

“Benazir Bhutto is neither a fugitive from law nor an absconder and the government cannot give a single justification of its ghastly tactics against her,” Sahibzada Zaffar said.

“The latest move against Ms Bhutto is aimed at keeping her out of the election process, because the regime knows well that under her leadership, the PPP has the potential to sweep the polls.”

Sahibzada Zaffar said that the present Pakistani rulers had no right to observe the Kashmir Solidarity Day as they had failed to express the same with the people of Pakistan.

“Gen Musharraf should first create an atmosphere of harmony within the state he is ruling at the strength of military might and then express solidarity with the freedom-seeking Kashmiris,” he said. He said if the government was sincere in establishing the atmosphere of harmony, it should let the popular leadership return to the country and take part in national politics.

The PPAJK chief also announced that opposition members in AJK Legislative Assembly and Council would boycott functions attended by Gen Musharraf on Sunday, who would be the chief guest on the occasion of the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Other party leaders, including Hanif Awan, Zulfiqar Wani and Bashir Awan, also spoke on the occasion.