MMA blasts govt over Wana operation

March 21, 2004

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ISLAMABAD, March 20: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) supreme council on Saturday condemned the government for bypassing parliament while launching a military operation in Wana and said that the alliance will continue its protest inside and outside parliament against what it called "Gen Musharraf's total submission to US dictations."

It, however, refrained from announcing any immediate public demonstration against the military operation.

The alliance demanded initiation of a fully-fledged debate in parliament on Pakistan's relations with the US with special reference to the recent US offer to designate Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally and the limits that Pakistan should put on its cooperation with the US.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting Qazi Hussian Ahmed said that there was every possibility that the alliance would turn its mass contact programme into anti-government campaign if the role of parliament continued to be undermined.

He said that a committee to be headed by Prof Sajid Mir will soon undertake the task of removing the grievances of the estranged JUI (S) leader, Maulana Samiul Haq, and hoped the six party alliance will remain intact.

Those who attended Saturday's supreme council meeting included Maulana Fazlur Rahman and Hafiz Hussain Ahmed of JUI(F), Sahibzada Abul Khair Dr Zubair MNA of JUP, Prof Sajid Mir of JAH, Sheikh Ghulam Mehdi Najavi, Maulana Abdul Jalil Naqvi and Allama Ramzan Tuqir of banned Tehrik Islami (Tehrik Jaferia), and Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Liaqat Baloch of JI.

However, the leader of the sixth member party, the JUI(S) Maulana Samiul Haq, as expected, did not attend the meeting.

The MMA announced that it would hold public rallies in various towns of the NWFP including Dir, Tank, Chakdarra and Warsak to mobilize people against Gen Musharraf's "total capitulation to the American dictations" and killing of innocent people in the tribal areas.

Mr Ahmed said that the MMA had totally rejected the proposed concept of National Security Council which in its opinion was being shaped into a supra-constitutional body.

"We want a federal parliamentary system to function in the country in which the president wields no extra-constitutional authority."

The religious alliance adopted a resolution in the meeting which described as a 'trap' US Secretary of State Colin Powell's recent announcement designating Pakistan as a non-Nato ally and said "the American administration was playing a game of hypocrisy with Pakistan".

"One American official supports Gen Musharraf's role in war on terrorism one day, another official of Bush administration denounces Pakistan's role in this war the very next day", the alliance said.

The MMA recalled the damage that the country suffered due to its membership of CENTO and SEATO in 1950s and 1960s and the harm it sustained due to its decision to become the front-line state in the US war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Referring to a statement of the US under-secretary of state Richard Armitage in which the US official had declared India as America's strategic partner the MMA resolution also recalled the American betrayal during Pakistan's wars against India in 1965 and 1971.

The resolution feared that America, after entrenching itself in Iraq and Afghanistan, could use Pakistani military might against Iran and then use it to advance Washington's agenda in the Middle East.

Pakistan, despite General Musharraf's 'untiring services' has so far failed to get F-16 aircraft, it was forced to withdraw from its 57-year-old stand on settling the Kashmir issue through UN resolutions.

The US refused to give any relief to Pakistan in export quota regime and even did not show any less hostility towards American Pakistanis in post-9/11 period", the resolution concluded.