Equating the present situation with that of 1906 when the All-India Muslim League was launched, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif, a central leader of the new party, said that as the AIML overcame hurdles on its way to success, “God willing, ours would also become a popular political party and play its role in Pakistan's progress.”
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club with retired Major-General Rashid Qureshi, another central leader of the party, Mr Saif said the party was against hereditary politics and would carry out its politics in a democratic manner to serve the people.
“Our motto remains 'Pakistan first', and remaining above all personal, regional and group considerations we will make every necessary sacrifice for Pakistan,” he said.
Mr Saif said their party had received a good response from the people and political activists, including leaders from the PML-Q, the PML (Likeminded) and the Awami Muslim League. He added that during his three-day stay in Karachi, he had been contacted by a number of representatives of labour, women and youth organisations who wanted to join the party. He mentioned some of the men seated with him, including Zubair Khan and Anwar Warsi.
He said that in the first phase, organisational councils at the district, divisional and provincial levels were being set up and in the second phase those who were made council members would be given responsibilities after forming Karachi and provincial councils. They would be visiting Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and Balochistan.
In reply to questions repeatedly asked by journalists that before entering politics, Gen Musharraf should clear himself of the charges of massacre at Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad, the May 12 killings in Karachi, the assassinations of PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti in Balochistan, Mr Saif said those were political allegations and would be responded to at a proper platform and at an appropriate time through the presentation of facts. Doubts were created in people's minds by opponents of Gen Musharraf and “we would fully satisfy the people”, he added.
Regarding the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, he said “They are our brothers” and that he hoped they would extend cooperation in “our political journey”.
Rashid Qureshi said Gen Musharraf would soon return to Pakistan. He, however, could not give a date or month of his return, saying that it would be determined by the former president himself.
After the press conference, responding to a question, Rashid Qureshi said the PML-N — instead of being concerned about Pakistan's wellbeing — was doing politics of vendetta and that was why Pakistan had reached the present crisis situation.
Responding to another question, he said had there been any other ruler in Pakistan at the time, he would have carried out an operation against Lal Masjid, or else the fate of Islamabad would not have been different from that of Swat.
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