Bajaur MP challenges government’s claims

Nov 03 2006


ISLAMABAD, Nov 2: Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s MNA from Bajaur Sahibzada Haroonur Rashid on Thursday challenged President Pervez Musharraf’s claims that all or many of those killed in Monday’s bombing of a seminary were militants and said the truth would come out if media personnel and an investigation team were allowed to go to the tribal agency.

Addressing a news conference here, Mr Rashid who announced his resignation from the National Assembly after the incident, said the Bajaur political agent had told him that an accord with the tribal leadership had been finalised and it was about to be signed, about five hours after the attack.

He said he had made arrangements to host a lunch for 400 people, but the attack subverted any chance of peace at least for the time being.

The MMA leader said the tribesmen were extremely angry with the government which instead of providing protection to them was defending the operation conducted by the United States.

He said the tribesmen were continuing their protests and they were preparing to stage demonstrations in Islamabad. He asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice of the attack. He said consultations were under way to move the apex court against the act.

He denied reports about presence in the area of any of the nine tribesmen recently released in Waziristan.

He said thousands of Bajaur tribesmen would testify to prove that the seminary had been attacked by a US drone and the Pakistan army’s helicopters arrived at the scene 20 minutes later.

In reply to a question, he said his resignation was final and he would not attend the next National Assembly session.

He said two other parliamentarians from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas had resigned, while efforts were under way to persuade others to follow suit.

He said the religious school, Ziaul Quran, was located at a place only 1km from his home and he had heard sounds of missiles which shook the windows and doors of his house. The impact was different from that of the rocket fired by Pakistani helicopters later, he said.

He recalled that the military spokesman had expressed his inability to put blame on the United States when Damadola was attacked by US planes on Jan 13, killing 13 innocent women and children, but Washington owned up to the attack.