Sunday, December 18

Gen can’t resolve contentious issues, Jaghra

Contentious issues could not be resolved by the undemocratic dispensation, and if General Pervez Musharraf initiated the Kala Bagh Dam, the opposition would fight against this decision tooth and nail, as the opposition had initiated political activities, said Secretary-General Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) Iqbal Zafar Jaghra, while addressing a Press conference at the Pakistan Democratic Party House here on Wednesday.
Jaghra stated that no doubt water reservoirs were a must for the country, but not at the cost of the country. “We don’t want to talk to non-democratic President Musharraf because we don’t recognise him as the constitutional president. Our fight is for the supremacy of constitution, which is the real issue, not the uniform,” he added.
While giving a briefing about the December 16 Round-Table Conference, which will be attended by the ARD component parties along with the Balochistan political parties, Jaghra maintained that the opposition visualised during its meeting in Karachi, held on November 22, that the government would be launching another operation in Balochistan. “We decided that the opposition should discuss it with the political parties of Balochistan, and should reach a political settlement of the issue. The coming up Round-Table conference is a step in this regard,” he added.
On the prospects of the Conference, Jaghra said this would be an important conference keeping in mind the fact that the ARD and Balochistan political parties would be discussing the problem at one platform. “The government had already constituted committees to alleviate the grievances and provide facilities to Balochistan, but they did nothing. Now the Balochis are restless,” he maintained, adding that the forces should be sent to the quake-hit areas instead of allowing the foreign forces carrying out relief activities there. “Don’t suppress your own people rather the army should help the quake-survivors,” he said while explaining the reason behind the coming up conference.
While talking about the grand alliance of the political parties, Jaghra said on October 8, a meeting was planned but the earthquake tragedy made us to suspend the meeting, which also resulted in the suspension of the political movement as well. “We sent a positive message to the government, which was not responded by the government in the same vein. Even the exiled leaders made relief activities a priority, but the government is now talking of committees. Despite our request, the present dispensation did not give us a briefing on the pretext that it was ‘technical’. Now if the political parties go quiet, then these will be at fault because the government has given no response to our ‘terms of reference’ even,” he added.
While answering a question about a possible alliance with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Jaghra said we parted ways with the MMA when the alliance supported the government for the passage of the 17th amendment. “Now after President Musharraf’s decline on December 31, 2004, to shed his uniform, the MMA had contacted us, but has not constituted any formal committee to finalise the modalities to be part of the grand political alliance,” he said.
December 14, 2005

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