ISLAMABAD, Dec 2: The All Parties Conference on Tuesday assured the government and the armed forces of support in tackling the threat to national security arising from India’s accusations after the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
It also reiterated Islamabad’s pledge to continue friendly relations with Delhi and extend its full cooperation in investigations.
The conference was convened and presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani at the Prime Minister’s House.
According to sources, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan urged the government to continue the process of consultations on all national issues.
Mr Sharif regretted the government’s “reneging on promises”, including restoration of the judiciary to the pre-Nov 3 position, and agreements reached between the PPP and PML-N.
The prime minister said it was encouraging to see all major political parties united on a single platform to face off dangers to the integrity of the country. He praised the political parties for their unequivocal support to the government.
The meeting unanimously adopted a resolution which said: “On the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, leaders representing all political parties met in Islamabad today to discuss the developments following the Mumbai carnage, including the implications for national security.
“The leaders and representatives of the political parties of Pakistan unanimously underscored the following: The people of Pakistan share the grief of the people of India and extend their sympathy to the families of the victims.
“The conference expresses steadfast resolve of the Pakistani nation to defend its honour and dignity as well as Pakistan’s sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity.
“All political parties and democratic forces firmly support the government and the armed forces in defending Pakistan’s security interests.
“Pakistan abhors any act of violence perpetrated against innocent persons. That the political parties take strong exception to unsubstantiated allegations made in haste against Pakistan.
“The APC expresses Pakistan’s desire to pursue its constructive engagement with India in a comprehensive manner with a view to building confidence and mutual trust for establishing friendly and good-neighbourly relations with India on the basis of settlement of all outstanding disputes.”
The chief of the National Awami Party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, did not attend the meeting because of illness. Former prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali was also absent.
Those who attended the conference, among others, were PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Atique Ahmad Khan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F), Dr Farooq Sattar and Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi (MQM), Haji Mohammad Adeel and Ms Bushra Gohar (ANP), Abdul Razzaq Thaheem (PML-F), Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao (PPP-S), Haji Munir Khan Orakzai, Qazi Hussain Ahmed (JI), Imran Khan (PTI), Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (NPP), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (PML-Q), Mehmood Khan Achakzai (PkMAP), Sheikh Rashid Ahmad (PML-A), Syed Nusrat Ali Shan (TI), Tahir Bizenjo (NPB), Mir Israrullah Zehri (BNP-Awami), Prof Sajid Mir (Jamiat Ahl-i-Hadith), Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi (TNFJ), Dr Raheeq Abbasi (Tehkrik-i-Minhajul Quran), Syed Shujaat Ali Bokhari (Pak Watan Party), Maulana Samiul Haq (JUI-S), M. Sarwat Ejaz Qadri (Sunni Tehrik), Haji Mohammad Hanif Tayyab (Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Islam), Qari Zawwar Bahadur (JUP-N), Rasool Bukhsh Palejo (Awami Tehrik) and Shahid Hassan Bugti (JWP).
The government side was represented by Mian Raza Rabbani, Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ms Sherry Rehman, Farooq H. Naek, Rehman Malik, Shahbaz Bhatti, Maj-Gen (retd) Mehmood Ali Durrani, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Dr Zahiruddin Babar Awan.
Information Minister Sherry Rehman told reporters after the meeting that the APC signified the power and unity of Pakistan’s democracy. “All parties are united in this effort to support the elected government.”
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Pakistan had already replied to the first letter from the Indian government and would reply to the second soon.
He described Monday’s statement of the Indian foreign minister as “backtracking of the Indian government from its earlier stance”.
He praised the Pakistani media for playing a “responsible role” in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks and alleged that the Indian media had tried to exploit the incident to create a gulf between India and Pakistan.
Maulana Samiul Haq told Dawn he had asked the government to take advantage of the situation and concentrate on the country’s western borders because things were taking a positive turn in the tribal areas.
He termed the resolution “very weak” and said it did not condemn the malicious campaign India had launched against Pakistan “on the basis of flimsy and baseless allegations”.
Haji Mohammad Adeel said it was a “rare show of unity” between the government and opposition parties.