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KARACHI: Rallies held against Bush visit

March 05, 2006

KARACHI, March 4: Protest rallies were taken out in different parts of the province on Saturday against US policies in this region, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Political leaders and civil society representatives, who addressed the protesters, called the American policy ‘a pack of double standards’ and discriminatory against Muslims. They also condemned collaborators of America within the country, and called upon the country’s leadership not to play second fiddle to protect American interests at the cost of Pakistan’s national interest.

They were of the view that by signing the nuclear deal with India and offering New Delhi F-16s and F-18s, besides other high-tech military hardware and state-of-the-art fighting platforms, George Bush had unfolded his doctrine based on creating a regional influential power for containing China.

At one of the rallies, Mohammad Hussain Mehnati, Abdul Sattar Afghani and others leaders of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, asked General Pervez Musharraf to tell the nation what was gained by the people of Pakistan through his regime’s pro-US policies.

“Despite Gen Musharraf’s commitment of doing everything for the US, President Bush was harping on the tunes of India, which had refused to support America’s war in Afghanistan,” they said, and alleged that the regime had caused humiliation to the people of Pakistan.

They pointed out that all over the world, the people who cared for self and national respect were criticizing George Bush. Even in India, massive rallies against President Bush’s visit were staged. No arrests were made there, but in Pakistan, the government put political leaders, including Imran Khan, under house arrest just to please Mr Bush. They alleged that Pakistani junta killed 50 innocent Pakistanis in Waziristan to please the American masters.

PPP: Leader of the Opposition in Senate Mian Raza Rabbani and chairperson of the PPP’s Policy Planning Committee Ms Sherry Rehman (MNA) have strongly condemned the arrest of women rights organization in Rawalpindi for holding a protest demonstration on Saturday.

In a statement, the PPP leaders said that holding peaceful demonstrations was the basic human right of every citizen, but the brutality with which this very right was quelled was an absolutely condemnable act. Peaceful demonstrations were held in every country without any interference but in Pakistan’s case the dictatorial rule continues to suppress the basic human rights of people.

“It is strange that peaceful women rights workers of the Aurat Foundation and other NGOs are harshly treated and dragged to police stations in Rawalpindi while, hardly a few kilometres away, Gen Musharraf is singing the rights that women enjoy in the country,” they added.

They demanded immediate release of the women protesters and punishment to those administration officials who had ordered the action.

PMM: The Pakistan Mazdoor Mahaz staged a protest rally outside the Karachi Press Club and condemned the US policies and subservient attitude of the Pakistan civil and military rulers, agencies add.

The participants chanted slogans against Gen Musharraf’s pro-US policies and demanded withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan and Iraq. The protest was led by Kamran Abbas.

PASBAN: A protest rally was held outside the press club here by the activists of Pasban Pakistan who rejected President Bush’s doctrine and policy based on unilateralism. They were of the view that the real purpose of his visit to the region was to strengthen Indian and Israeli security.

Pasban chief Shafiqullah Ismail urged Muslims not to pin hopes in George Bush’s overtures.

ISO: The Imamia Students Organization, Karachi division, held protest rallies in various cities of Sindh, including Sukkur, Khairpur, Larkana, Nawabshah, Dadu, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas and Hyderabad, against President Bush’s visit and US policies.