ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday made a categorical decision that it will not become a part of Muslim Leagues’ alliance and will maintain a separate identity. The decision was taken during a meeting of the PML-N central organising committee, held here at the Punjab House. The meeting, chaired by PML-N Quaid Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, was attended by the Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Raja Zafarul Haq, Sardar Mehtab, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, Mamnoon Hussain, Salim Zia, Saranjam Khan and other central leaders. Party sources said that none of participants of the meeting was in favour of joining the alliance of other leagues headed by Pir Sahib Pagara. “All of them [PML leaders] having personal interests are struggling for political survival,” the meeting observed. Nawaz Sharif, however, said that all the political parties should sit together to bring the country out of crisis. “We will stand above party politics in the better national interests,” he said. During the meeting, some party leaders noted that there was no need to have concerns over contacts between the PML-Q and PPP. They observed that the PML-Q itself was suffering from rift in its own ranks while members of the dissident group are making contacts with the PML-N. DAILY DAWN - ISLAMABAD: In a veiled reference to the unification of Pakistan Muslim League’s different factions, the Nawaz League has decided, in principle, that it will not be part of any alliance whose aim is power. Sources told Dawn that the decision was taken at a meeting of PML-N’s Central Organising Committee, presided over by Nawaz Sharif at the Punjab House here on Friday. After intense deliberations, the party decided that it would not join such alliance because there was no one point agenda for the unification. Most of the participants dismissed talk of PML unification, saying the efforts were dictated by expediency, and not notional interest. They said they were not worried about recent contacts between the PPP and the Q League. REFERENCES: PML-N not to join Leagues’ alliance By Muhammad Anis Saturday, November 06, 2010 Zi Qad 28, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/06-11-2010/Top-Story/1859.htm Political picture Saturday, November 06, 2010 Zi Qad 28, 1431 A.H. http://www.thenews.com.pk/06-11-2010/editorial/14027.htm PML-N rejects ‘alliance for power’ By Aamir Yasin Saturday, 06 Nov, 2010 http://news.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/12-pml-n+rejects+alliance+for+power--bi-04
LAHORE: Two senators of the former ruling party PML-Q met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to discuss economic and political crisis faced by the country. Senator S.M Zafar and Tariq Azeem held a meeting with Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar, Khwaja Asif and Senator Ishaq Dar also attended the meeting. The meeting discussed the role political parties could play for the betterment of the country. The meeting also agreed that the federal government should change its attitude and play a positive role by implementing the orders of the judiciary.—Dawn News - REFERENCE: PML-Q leaders discuss political crisis with Shahbaz Sunday, 17 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/12-pml-q+leaders+discuss+political+crisis+with+shahbaz--bi-02
ISLAMABAD: Pakisan Muslim League – Nawaz’s Ishaq Dar held a meeting with Pakistan Muslim League –Quaid’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Wednesday, DawnNews quoted sources as saying. The meeting took place in the chamber of Opposition Leader in the Senate Wasim Sajjad, sources said. Earlier, in October, a meeting took place between PML-Q leaders Tariq Azim and S M Zafar with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and other key PML-N leaders in Lahore. The meeting was seen as a significant move towards a possible alliance. Meanwhile, in September, senior PML-N leader Pervaiz Rasheed had said that the PML-N will welcome the PML-Q if they rejoin the party. The latest developments come in the backdrop of Pir Pagara spearheading a “merger” of the Muslim Leagues in order to form a united Muslim League. PML-N and PML-Q have kept a distance from this arrangement. REFERENCE: Ishaq Dar, Shujaat meet DAWN.COM Yesterday http://public.dawn.com/2010/11/03/ishaq-dar-shujaat-meet.html
General Zia-ul-Haq, Nawaz Sharif and General Pevrez Musharraf
NOTE: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (Jamat-e-Islami) is sitting on stage and Sheikh Rasheed (nobody knows in which Muslim League he is).
KARACHI: All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leader, Pir Pagara said on Tuesday that even though PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has been “arrogant” in the past, he will still be extended an invitation to join the party. Speaking to the media, Pagara also said that he was sceptical of whether the present government can complete its five year tenure or not. This statement came amid the tensions that seemed to have developed between the ruling government and the judiciary. Pagara invited all political parties other than the religious parties to join the APML. Earlier, Pagara had stated that the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) will also join the APML in the future. APML was formed when two factions of the Muslim League, PML-F, led by Pir Pagara and PML-Q, led by Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain decided to merge under one banner and the leadership of the former. However, there were some complications about whether the name APML could be used or not as it had already been registered by former president Pervez Musharraf’s party. Meanwhile, senator Saleem Saifullah announced a meeting, under the leadership of Pir Pagarah, to be held in Lahore with all partners soon. The meeting is expected to decide the party’s next course of action. REFERENCE: Pagara calls Nawaz to the APML fold September 28, 2010 http://tribune.com.pk/story/55661/pagara-calls-nawaz-to-the-apml-fold/ Chaudhrys in new League with Pir Pagara September 19, 2010 http://tribune.com.pk/story/51701/pml-q-pml-f-unite-to-form-all-pakistan-muslim-league/ Sheikh Rashid suggests unifying all Muslim Leagues September 17, 2010 http://tribune.com.pk/story/51070/sheikh-rashid-suggests-unifying-all-muslim-leagues/ PML-N, Q finalise judicial commission nominations Express / Irfan Ghauri November 4, 2010 http://tribune.com.pk/story/72415/pml-n-q-finalise-judicial-commission-nominations/
Rana Mubashir + Pir Pagara Part 01
Rana Mubashir + Pir Pagara Part 02
Rana Mubashir + Pervez Musharraf Part 3
Rana Mubashir + Pervez Musharraf Part 4
Rana Mubashir + Pervez Musharraf Part 5
DAILY JANG Updated at: 1520 Thursday, September 16, 2010, Shawwal 06, 1431 A.H
DAILY EXPRESS http://www.express.com.pk/epaper/PoPupwindow.aspx?newsID=1101053413&Issue=NP_LHE&Date=20100917
15 Years ago
LAHORE, Sept. 10: PML President Mian Nawaz Sharif, shunning past rigidity, expressed his readiness for a merger of all factions of the Pakistan Muslim League and said for this purpose he had written letters to Hamid Nasir Chattha and Pir Pagara, president of the PML(J) and the Functional Muslim League, respectively, inviting them to work out the modalities of a merger. He also gave a call to all political leaders, public opinion leaders, intelligentsia and all sections of society to work together to resist the government efforts to "impose a fascist one-party system" and attempts aimed at demolition of the democratic process. Sharif said the president owed an explanation to the nation why, at the behest of the Prime Minister, he had allowed the floodgates of horse-trading and black-mailing to open. "If the president does not act to prevent these violations of the Constitution, then the people of Pakistan will have reason to believe that he is not faithfully discharging his duties as the constitutional head of state." REFERENCE: Nawaz ready for PML reunification Bureau Report DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending:14 September, 1995 Issue:01/36 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1995/14Sp95.html#nawa
10 YEARS AGAO
The Supreme Court has allowed the military regime to make constitutional amendments, even though they still require final ratification by the National Assembly. "The need to achieve formal approval for the constitutional amendments has necessitated a search for a political partner for the military regime. Like his predecessors Ayub and Zia, Musharraf has opted to cultivate the dissident faction of the Pakistan Muslim League for this purpose. It was against this background that the military regime helped the dissidents to take over by force the Pakistan Muslim League's offices in Islamabad and Lahore," the report adds. REFERENCE: Musharraf planning to replace Tarar as next president: report Correspondent DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 14 April 2001 Issue : 07/15 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/apr1401.html#mush
ISLAMABAD, March 10: Around 50 members of Pakistan Muslim League Friday moved towards a consensus on the question of replacing the party president, the party sources said. They agreed to immediately convene a meeting of the PML parliamentary party in the suspended National Assembly to further discuss the proposal of replacing Nawaz Sharif as the party chief or from the office of the parliamentary party leader. The meeting, convened at the residence of Syed Fakhr Imam, also decided to set up a committee which would meet Mr Sharif in jail and persuade him to voluntarily step down from the party president ship. "The discussion has started," said Abida Hussain when asked whether there was any move to replace the party president. "Obviously we are not a bureaucracy, we are a political party and such decisions take time," she added.
Abida said only the members of the parliamentary party would be called at the next meeting, as the Senate would cease to exist after March 20. Though majority of pro-Sharif members was present at the meeting, some fiery speech against him and his style of governance were heard, while his supporters kept mum, a member present at the meeting said. Fakhr and Abida had invited only 30 members but some Sharif supporters turned up at the meeting uninvited with a motive to stall the move of replacing him, sources said. However, most of the pro-Sharif members seemed convinced that change in the party leadership had become inevitable and they could not resist it any more, they added. Fakhr at a press briefing at the end of the meeting read out a resolution unanimously adopted by the participants. It read: "Fifty members of the National Assembly under suspension met at the residence of Syed Fakhr Imam and decided that the entire parliamentary party of PML will assemble shortly to further discuss the issues facing the country and the party. "While reiterating their adherence to democratic norms and their commitment to democratic values and principles all the members emphasized on the party unity and laid to rest all speculations regarding any split in the PML." REFERENCE: Pakistan Muslim League moves to choose new President Faraz Hashmi DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending:11 March 2000 Issue:06/11 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2000/mar11.html#paki
ISLAMABAD, Nov 22: The Pakistan Muslim League on Wednesday formally accused the military government of causing a split in the party and helping rebels occupy the PML central secretariat. "Three prime ministerial candidates, by the dint of military government's might, blocked the Margalla Road at midnight and took over the office of the country's biggest political party,"Syed Zafar Ali Shah told a joint press conference held at the residence of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. Though he did not name anyone, this was apparently an indirect reference to Ejaz-ul-Haq, Caudhry Shujaat and Fakhr Imam. " First they (military regime) captured the Prime Minister's House, then the parliament house (on Oct 12, 1999), and now they have captured the Muslim League secretariat," Mr Shah said while accusing the government of supporting the rebel group, which includes scions of two former generals. Mr Shah lauded the sagacity of PML leadership, which, he said, had avoided a clash on Nov 20. "Had we sent our workers to the party office there could have been a clash and bloodshed," he said, praising Kulsoom Nawaz and Saranjam Khan who had immediately decided to change the venue of CWC meeting. Kulsoom Nawaz, when asked to comment on Nov 20 incident, said that it had shocked her.
Secretary-General Saranjam Khan had earlier in the day, lodged a written complaint with the inspector-general of Police, Islamabad, asking him to get the PML's office vacated and investigate the Nov 20 "ugly incident." " A large number of people, armed with deadly weapons, came on vehicles arranged by some dissidents of the party," he said. " After criminally trespassing upon the PML House, they damaged the furniture and other fixtures in the office, manhandled the staff as well as some of the members who had come to attend the meeting," the secretary-general stated in his complaint to the police. "Islamabad is the capital where a large number of foreign missions are based. This ugly incident has brought a bad name to the country as well as the local administration, because the offences were committed in the presence of a large contingent of local police deployed around the PML secretariat at the time," he added.
Mr Shah rejected the claims of dissidents that the Muslim League House was taken over by the workers as a reaction to the party's decision to join hands with the Pakistan People's Party. " Muslim League workers would never have damaged the portrait of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and party president Nawaz Sharif," he said. He termed the breakaway faction a "cow dung league," alleging that trucks carrying cow dung had been brought to block the Margalla Road. Responding to dissidents' demand for convening a meeting of the general council, the secretary-general said:" I am ready to convene a meeting of the council today if the party rebels give me an an assurance that they will give in if the body ( council) reposes confidence in Nawaz Sharif." Kulsoom Nawaz and others did not rule out the possibility of a rapprochement with the rebels, saying that nothing was final in politics. " There are no full stops in politics," said Saranjam Khan. Mr Shah said that those who had been issued show -cause notices had not yet replied. REFERENCE: DAWN WIRE SERVICE PML blames government for split Week Ending : 25 November 2000 Issue : 06/45 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2000/nov2500.html#pmlb
An MNA from PML-N i.e. Mr Ayaz Amir on ever splitting Pakistan Muslim League [10 years ago]
THE happenings in the Muslim League are nothing new. They are based on a script as old as the history of authoritarianism in Pakistan. Every incoming Caesar has needed a Muslim League. The Muslim League has always played an obliging hand and to every Caesar - be he Ayub or Zia - has provided a ready platform. The Convention Muslim League was Field Marshal Ayub Khan's political handmaiden. The Pakistan Muslim League, born of the National Assembly of 1985 and headed by Muhammad Khan Junejo, was the civilian face of the Zia regime. When Zia, miffed by Junejo's growing independence, axed the National Assembly and sent the Junejo premiership packing, the Muslim League split into two factions, the one in the wilderness still headed by Junejo, the one which closed ranks behind General Zia under the command of his most loyal protege, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. The meeting in which this split was sealed was held at the Islamabad Hotel. No speeches were made, no discussions held. Instead, the opposing factions hurled abuses and spoons at each other. All perfectly in character because the climate of the sub-continent does not favour the polite exchange of views. It is more conducive to platform oratory, slogan-shouting and even fisticuffs when tempers run high. Look at the politics of Bangladesh where Hasina Wajed and Khalida Zia are engaged in a never-ending conflict. Look at Indian politics where the sound of shouting rises above any whispered attempts at calm debate. Look at Pakistani politics the essence of which is mirrored in the politics of the Muslim League.
In 1988 at the Islamabad Hotel the wounded democrat was Muhammad Khan Junejo and his adversary Nawaz Sharif. This time the prophet in chains is Nawaz Sharif and the King's Party is headed by the Gujrat Chaudries, Mian Azhar, Ejazul Haq (Zia's son), etc. As on the earlier occasion, rowdyism took the lead over gentle persuasion, the only difference being that whereas in 1988 distinguished parliamentarians went for each other's throats, this time 'workers' were bused in from Lahore and Gujrat to assault the Muslim League Secretariat. The more things change...Let it be noted in passing that while the culture of being unprincipled and siding with authority has a long tradition in the Muslim League, the culture of violence was largely absent from the party, factionalism in the League being conducted mostly along civilized lines. The use of strong-arm tactics took root when Nawaz Sharif as chief minister of Punjab was locked in a confrontation with Benazir Bhutto at the centre. In any event, the Kashmiris of Lahore, who count the Sharifs as their most famous sons, are known for two things: good eating and muscle-flexing (the storming of the Supreme Court in 1998 being not so much an aberration as an instinctive reaction from the new Muslim League shaped in the image of the Sharifs). That the same tactics have now been applied to them is a minor irony which I suspect would be lost on them.
There is, however, one vital difference between king's factions past and the king's faction now taking shape within the Muslim League (and which no doubt will soon claim the mantle of legitimacy for itself by saying that it is the genuine article). The Convention League in Ayub Khan's time and the Muslim League in Zia's time were the B teams of powerful centres of authority. Ayub was a strong ruler and so was Zia. In both dispensations it paid to be a collaborator of the military and those who sided with those autocrats enjoyed long political innings. Ayub's martial law destroyed the pre-1958 political order and replaced it with a new class (its most famous alumnus being Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) which enjoyed a long stint in power. In much the same manner, the Zia regime, while not succeeding in demolishing the PPP or Bhuttoism, gave birth to a countervailing force in the form of a revived Muslim League which sat in the assemblies for close to 15 years, 1985-99, a record in Pakistani politics.
It is different this time round. The gun is with General Musharraf and although it is hard to argue with that, the evidence of the past 12 months suggests that there is little which is impressive or durable about the dispensation he commands. How then to weigh the fruits of collaboration with him? Guided by better political sense the military could have split the Muslim League, and ensured the isolation and eclipse of Nawaz Sharif, soon after October 12, 2000 - that is, in those balmy days when military interventionism basked in the warm glow of public approbation. No wonder the generals rode the wind, thinking they would conquer the moon and set everything right (how precisely was never very clear, but that is beside the point). The necessity of garnering broader political support (a necessity not dismissed out of hand by patriarchs stronger than them) did not cross their minds. Or was not high on their agenda. So that golden moment was allowed to pass. REFERENCE: Old script, new situation Ayaz Amir DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending:25 November 2000 Issue:06/45 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2000/nov2500.html#olds
ISLAMABAD, April 19: A split in the Pakistan Muslim League is just around the corner as the Sharif family has frustrated all attempts by the anti-Nawaz group within the party to have Nawaz Sharif replaced as party president, insiders told Dawn. A sizable group of Muslim League members has already rallied around Mian Azhar and Begum Abida Hussain, two of the five suspended MNAs who had developed differences with Nawaz Sharif even before the Oct 12 coup over his style of governance. At the recent PML meeting held in the federal capital the anti-Nawaz members were not allowed to express their views, frustrating what this group calls its last attempts to save the party from the looming split by replacing Nawaz Sharif with a consensus candidate as party chief.
When asked why then the group has not yet announced its exit from the PML or has not so far formed a new party. The source said the group was now engaged in winning over as many members of the party as possible to its side and as soon as it succeeds in achieving the right numbers the needful would done. Besides, the group seems to be a bit apprehensive about splitting as it was not certain how the people would greet such a move when the fate of Mr Sharif was yet to be decided by court. Also, the group does not want to commit the same mistake as Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi had done when he left the PPP at the wrong time. They are seemingly waiting for the most opportune moment for making the move. "We know we are right and have no qualms about leaving the party but it is always good politics to choose the right time before making an important political move like leaving a party or forming a new party," said the source. According to the source, the decision to pass on the mantle of PML president-ship to Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was taken, in principle, by a coterie of elders at a meeting recently held in Lahore. Notwithstanding the repeated and firm denials by Begum Kulsoom that she does not want any office in the party, her elders have already directed her to prepare herself for carrying the party scepter in the absence of her husband who these elders are now certain would be out of circulation for at least another 10 years.
After losing power and sustaining serious damage to the family business, the source said, the Sharif family was still not prepared to give up the party leadership. It had decided to fight back, with full might, all the pressure building up within the party for a change in the party leadership. The elders had reportedly asked Begum Kulsoom to establish contacts with the Muslim Leaguers who were not happy with the policies of Nawaz Sharif and who were now openly demanding immediate change of the party president, a source said. Acting on the advice of elders, Begum Kulsoom had extended an invitation last week to a member of the anti-Nawaz group to meet her at her Model Town residence. The way Begum Kulsoom managed to thwart attempts of the anti-Nawaz group to get a new president elected at a joint meeting at Islamabad of the central working committee and the PML parliamentary group is being regarded by the loyalists of Nawaz Sharif as her first political achievement, the source said.
He said the impression that the Sharif family and a group of Nawaz loyalists had made elaborate plans to scuttle any move to replace the party president at the meeting was wrong. "What actually happened was that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who is a very influential Leaguer in Punjab and who thinks that the time was not yet ripe to replace Nawaz Sharif had at the last minute put all his political weight behind Kulsoom," he added. The PML rebels had conditionally attended the joint meeting held in the capital last week. Raja Zafarul Haq had assured them at the residence of Begum Abida Hussain, where they had gathered before the meeting, that the meeting would be conducted in a democratic manner and everybody would be allowed to speak, the source said. Later when they were not given a proper opportunity to speak at the meeting, they left, one by one, halfway through the meeting. The party insiders were of the view that the idea to bring the former first lady into politics was not an incident of recent occurrence. It had been going on in the mind of the Sharif family since 1993 when the PML was in opposition. The source recalled that when Nawaz Sharif was asked by a party member during his train march in 1994 who would head the party if he was arrested or eliminated from politics, his spontaneous reply was: "Kulsoom, who else." REFERENCE: DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 22 Ap;ril 2000 Issue:06/17 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2000/apr22.html#pmls
ISLAMABAD: Two splintered factions of the Pakistan Muslim League – one with the Quaid appendage (PML-Q) and the other named after Ziaul Haq – have mutually agreed to reunite their respective groupings. PML-Z supremo Ijaz-ul-Haq held a meeting with the president of PML-Q, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and its secretary-general, Mushahid Hussain. The meeting continued for more than two hours, after which the re-unification of the two factions was announced, with both leaders categorising the move to be in the interest of the country. After the meeting, PML-Z chief Ijaz-ul-Haq termed the meeting with the PML-Q representatives as highly productive. He stated that the PML-Q chief during the meeting had clearly stated that his party was ready to render all sorts of sacrifices for the reunification of the factions of Muslim League. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain also expressed his gratitude for the PML-Z chief, for writing letters to representatives of the other factions of Muslim League, urging them to reunite. In reply, Ijaz-ul-Haq unveiled the prime objective of writing letters to the other factions of Muslim League by saying that he intended to form a unified platform that could help steer the country out of the current crises it faced. He also pointed out the notion that the country was passing through a colossally critical period, which hence required the unification the Muslim League’s factions. REFERENCE: PML-Q and PML-Z agree to reunite Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2010. http://tribune.com.pk/story/27283/pml-q-and-pml-z-agree-to-reunite/
Ijaz Ul Haq and Khwaja Asif Get Personal
ISLAMABAD, Aug 13: The Election Commission (EC) turned down on Tuesday the request of Ijazul Haq for registration of another faction of Pakistan Muslim League, saying that it was inconceivable that elections of his party were held on Aug 3, when he was member of the PML(QA) till Aug 4. The application of the PML (Ziaul Haq Shaheed Group), filed by Mr Haq, was returned by the EC on Tuesday. In its order, the EC stated that the application of the PML (Ziaul Haq Shaheed Group) was returned as contemplated under rule 10 of the Political Parties Rules, 2002.
The EC stated that till Aug 4, Ijazul Haq was member of the Pakistan Muslim League (QA). "It is, therefore, inconceivable that his party could have come into existence and its election held on August 3, 2002." Mr Haq, had contested PML(QA) intra-party election on Aug 3 and was defeated by Mian Azhar. The application, which he submitted in the Election Commission, stated that he had formed political party on Aug 3 and its intra- party elections were held on the same day. REFERENCE: EC turns down Ijaz's registration request By Our Staff Reporter DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending : 17 August 2002 Issue : 08/33 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2002/aug172002.html#ectu
Red Mosque - Ijaz Ul Haq's crocodile tears after the incident
Ijaz Ul Haq Defends General Ziaul Haq 1
Ijaz Ul Haq Defends General Ziaul Haq 2
Ijaz Ul Haq Defends General Ziaul Haq 3
Ijaz Ul Haq Defends General Ziaul Haq 4
This correspondent has seen a letter of appreciation written by Yaldeshiv, shown by Rasheed, when the Lal Masjid issued a religious edict in 2004 that any Pakistani soldier killed in the South Waziristan tribal area did not deserve Muslim funeral prayers or burial in a Muslim graveyard. The letter was later endorsed by more than 500 scholars and became one of the main reasons for defiance in the Pakistan Army during military operations in South Waziristan. Lal Masjid was also the main site for Pakistani militants to visit, which landed the brothers in serious trouble in 2004 when the government accused them of being partners in a conspiracy to carry out major terror operations in Islamabad. The connection was Rasheed's car, which was apparently used by one Usman, who had been arrested in connection with sabotage activities in the capital. The government wanted the brothers arrested, but then-federal minister for religious affairs and son of former president Zia Ejaz ul-Haq, who was very close to the brothers, intervened. He became guarantor on behalf of the state that if Rasheed surrendered for interrogations to an intelligence agency of the armed forces and if no evidence came out, he would be cleared of all charges. "Before going into custody I made it clear to Ejaz ul-Haq that I had met everybody, including Osama, [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar [and] Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri and that many wanted figures did come to Lal Masjid because it is a mosque and anybody can come to this place. So any evidence of terror should be other than that. Ejaz ul-Haq agreed, and then I was handed over to intelligence," Rasheed told Asia Times Online in a recent interview. REFERENCE: Pakistan: Trouble in the mosque By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Apr 12, 2007 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ID12Df04.html http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/ID12Df03.html