Watch Capital Talk – 12th November 2008
Most political players are, however, unsure if Maulana Fazlur Rehman would stick to his decision or not. Almost everyone, who has been approached regarding the JUI-F’s exit, wonders if Maulana could stay outside the government. Spokesmen of both the MQM and the PML-N are saying that they are closely watching the situation arising out of JUI-F’s shocker. Ahsan Iqbal is of the view that his party has no love lost for the Gilani regime, so the question for supporting the government from collapse does not arise. Iqbal said that the PML-N would not enter into any game of power politics but would support any political initiative based on principles of curbing corruption, promoting good governance and reviving the economy of the country in the best interest of democracy and the people. Mustafa Azizabadi, the London based MQM spokesman, said that the Muttahida was keenly watching the situation. He said his party would weigh different options. He sounded really bitter on what the PPP Sindh Home Minister Zulfikar Mirza had said about the MQM a day earlier in Karachi. The MQM, whose differences with the PPP, have never been settled despite their 32-month-old coalition, are finding it really difficult to survive as coalition after the MQM opposed the NRO in late 2009.
Watch Capital Talk – 12th November 2008
The MQM took on the government for alleged breach of riverbanks by the PPP ministers in Sindh to save their properties and Muttahida’s opposition to the RGST furthered the gap between the coalition partners. The power politics of Karachi always served like fueling the fire but Zulfikar Mirza’s Monday’s speech was too harsh to be easily swallowed by the MQM leadership. Dr Farooq Sattar said that the Rabita Committee of the party was meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the situation and decide the future line of action. In these situations, the PPP may try to woo the PML-Q but Q’s spokesman Kamil Ali Agha told ‘The News’ that his party would never support the Gilani government if a vote of no confidence was brought against it. He, however, believed whatever was happening was a pre-planned conspiracy to demolish the whole democratic system. “I don’t think that the stage of vote of no confidence will ever come as the PPP will succeed to take down the system with it,” Agha said. REFERENCE: All eyes on Maulana Fazl, Altaf Hussain, Ch Shujaat Wednesday, December 15, 2010 By Ansar Abbasi http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=2671&Cat=13
If that was not enough Group Editor, The News, Mr Shaheen Sehbai had filed this on MMA while Mr. Sehabi was in Exile in USA [after being fired by Mir Shakil ur Rehman - Owner Of Jang Group of Newspapers]
WASHINGTON DC, July 19, 2005 ISSN: 1684-2057 www.satribune.com
A Madrassa near Peshawar, Capital of NWFP
Top MMA Leader Tries to Convince Pentagon, NSC on Hardline Islamic Law
Special SAT Report
WASHINGTON, July 19: As the guest of a Christian organization which calls itself “a Think Tank with Legs”, the Chief Minister of Pakistan’s North-western Province, NWFP, Akram Khan Durrani, has used the legs of the think tank to reach the Pentagon and Washington’s thinking elite. And the Opposition religious coalition, Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA), leader has been preaching the US decision-makers a word or two about the controversial Hasba Act, the recently passed law which, critics say, means Talibanization of Pakistan. It is being introduced by the Provincial Government to appeal to its conservative constituency in the backward province before the Local Government elections later this month.
It is the Law against which the Federal Government of General Pervez Musharraf has petitioned the Supreme Court of Pakistan claiming it was against the Constitution and should be declared null and void. The MMA says it will contest forcibly in the SC.
“Yes I visited the Pentagon and gave them a copy of the Hasba Act,” Durrani (above) told the South Asia Tribune on Saturday night, explaining that it was not at all odd that he was trying to convince Washington that the Act was not meant to Talibanize the Pakistani society.
Durrani has been in Washington from July 9-19 as guest of Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) which, according to its web site, was “created to develop sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide, and to inspire and equip emerging leaders with faith-based methodologies of engagement.”
Founded by Robert A. Seiple, the first-ever US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, “IGE uniquely combines strategic analysis with an operational component that seeks solutions to complex political and religious problems in difficult parts of the world.”
“In this age of widespread religious conflict, pluralism, and change, finding such solutions requires a deep understanding of geopolitical realities as well as an approach that is "shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves," the web site of IGE says.
To meet this challenge, IGE partners with governments, religious organizations, scholars, practitioners, and international advocacy groups to take on innovative projects that strike at the root of religious intolerance and educate emerging leaders to take religion seriously in their consideration of international affairs.
“We're a "think tank with legs," or if you're feeling less poetic, a "think-and-do-tank." What does that mean? We recognize that thinking is simply our initial step. We're also committed to praying and acting on the basis of our thought and research,” the IGE web site explains.
Chief Minister Durrani has been in Washington with his three sons, one Principal Officer and an Interpreter, all hosted by IGE for 11 days in the US capital and New York. “I had a wonderful trip, my children also saw America and we had good meetings with National Security Council and Pentagon officials. I gave every one a copy of the Hasba Act,” Durrani told the South Asia Tribune.
The religious leader from the radically Islamized province has been trying in all his meetings to convince the Americans that his party was not as radical as perceived and they could do business with the Americans on the same terms as any one else.
But as a slip of his tongue in one of the TV interviews, Durrani claimed that after he explained the provisions of the Hasba Act to Pentagon officials, they almost approved it and gave a green light to go ahead. But he quickly stopped making the remark to other media channels and when he was specifically asked by South Asia Tribune whether he was able to convince the Pentagon, he was non-committal and said it was for Pentagon to give their opinion.
He was asked whether the Hasba Act, now in the Supreme Court of Pakistan after it was challenged by the Federal Government as violative of the Constitution, would still be pursued if the Court ruled against the MMA, and whether MMA would accept the Court decision, Durrani was a little uncomfortable answering the question saying “Let us think positively as our legal brains have studied the Act in detail and they can successfully argue that it does not come into conflict with the Constitution.”
Durrani was, however, almost sure after his round of meetings with think tanks and NSC/Pentagon officials in Washington that his Government in NWFP would not be dismissed by General Musharraf because of the Hasba Act.
“I did say that we will wreak havoc if Governor’s Rule was imposed, but I am sure that stage would never be reached as we have worked with the Center on many sensitive issues in the past and reached a mutually acceptable solution,” he said.
But Durrani could not convincingly respond to the question that by bringing up the Hasba issue at this stage, the Opposition MMA had actually played into the hands of the Musharraf Government and diverted the focus of national politics from the up-coming unity talks and a possible alliance between the MMA, PPP and PML-N on the more basic issue of getting rid of a military dictator.
“We are talking to the Opposition parties for a joint struggle at the Federal level but provinces can legislate and opposition to local laws does not mean we would stop talking to each other at all levels,” he said.
Yet the fact is that MMA has hijacked the national agenda by introducing and passing the Hasba Act in a hurry which prompted other major parties including PPP to sharply attack the MMA and condemn it. No one would have been happier than General Musharraf with this political move.
And MMA itself is almost in a win-win situation because if the Hasba Act is enforced, they will have a new Islamic Police at their command which can ultimately be used politically against the Center and other political opponents. On the other hand, if the Act is not allowed by the Supreme Court or if the NWFP Assembly is dismissed, MMA would emerge as “martyrs of Islam” and would be able to recruit more supporters for its hardline policies. URL: http://antisystemic.org/satribune/www.satribune.com/archives/200507/P1_durr.htm
Issue No 12, Oct 07-13, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune.com
MMA leader talks to South Asia Tribune and talks tough
Qazi warns of big turmoil if power not given in NWFP
WASHINGTON: The leader of the wildcard anti-Musharraf religious alliance, which upset all calculations and expectations in the Pakistan general elections on Oct 10 by winning a huge number of seats in National and provincial assemblies, warned on Saturday there would be “big trouble” if his party was not given power in the sensitive provinces bordering Afghanistan.
“There will be great turmoil, a huge crisis (‘Buhat Bara Fassad Barpa Hoga Phir’). If they will not hand over the Government to us. How will they control the province. They have to keep law and order, it is a sensitive province,” Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Amir of Jamaat Islami told the SA Tribune on telephone.
“After such a heavy mandate how is it possible not to give us the Government. We have not been brought by the Army or the Establishment. It is not possible to push us away by twisting our ears. We have masses supporting us and we have come through the democratic process. And we have not done anything as yet to cause any panic.”
But the astute politician from Peshawar assured everyone that there was no need to get scared of his party. “There is no reason to be scared. We have been part of the political process all the time. Our component parties JUP and JUI have also been part of the Democratic process. There is no political party in Pakistan with which they did not have a political alliance. So there is nothing to be worried or scared,” Qazi said.
Asked about any major change in Pakistan’s foreign policy with the emergence of his group as a big force, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said: “Even if there is any change in policy it will come through the Parliament.” But he said if people do not want foreign troops on their soil, then what is wrong with it. "Why should these troops be there," he asked referring to the presence of US troops in NWFP and Balochistan.
He asked the United States and the Military Government in Pakistan to respect the opinion of the people. “We have not come through the barrel of the gun. We have been elected by the people and we will respect their opinion. This opinion should be respected by by the United States and also General Pervez Musharraf,” he said.
Qazi dispelled reports that his administration in NWFP would follow the Taliban and force women to wear head gears. “The Western Media is doing this (spreading this propaganda). I have said this in public meetings that our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) never punished any woman because she did not wear a ‘Chadar” on her head.”
“I said this before all Ulema. Can any religious leader tell me if the Prophet or the Caliphs punished any woman because she did not cover her head. We prefer changes through persuasion, education and teaching respect and moral values. They (US) made so much efforts to end the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. They were thinking that the day the Taliban are gone, all women will throw away their “burqas” or clothes. Go and see it you will not find one women without a burqa,” he said.
Qazi kept the doors of an alliance and understanding with both the leading political parties in the National Parliament open and said he had received a call from the PPP leader Mr Amin Fahim for talks. “But all our options are open,” he stressed.
Following is the full text of the Interview:
Q: Why is the Government or Establishment scared of you and your Alliance policies?
A: I don’t know. There is no reason to be scared. We have been part of the political process all the time. Our component parties JUP and JUI have also been part of the Democratic process. There is no political party in Pakistan with which they did not have a political alliance. So there is nothing to be worried or scared.
Q: Can you give an assurance to the Government that there would be no major change in the foreign policy of the country, if you join in?
A: Even if there is any change in policy it will come through the Parliament. We have not come through the barrel of the gun. We have been elected by the people and we will respect the opinion of the people. This opinion should be respected by the United States and also Pervez Musharraf.
Q: There is an impression gaining ground that your government will be a hardline, Taliban-type administration in NWFP?
A: This is a wrong impression. We would be working strictly according to our Constitution and will try to implement it.
Q: Would ordinary people feel any difficulties and should they be concerned about (your policies).
A: What difficulties are you talking about. We have not come to create difficulties. We will try to provide them relief.
Q: What kind of a government will you run in NWFP and Balochistan?
A: What kind of a government do you want?
Q: People want a Government which can provide security, improve law and order, provide jobs.
A: We will provide all this. You know us well. We will not create problems for the people.
Q: Who is spreading these stories that you will run a Taliban-type government and force women to wear Hijabs?
A: The Western Media is doing this. I have said this in public meetings that our Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) never punished any woman because she did not wear a ‘Chadar” on her head. I said this before all Ulema. Can any religious leader tell me if the Prophet or the Caliphs punished any woman because she did not cover her head. We prefer changes through persuasion, education and teaching respect and moral values. They (US) made so much efforts to end the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. They were thinking that the day the government is gone, all women will throw away their “burqas” or clothes. Go and see it you will not find one woman without a burqa.
Q: You have been quoted as saying that all US bases would be removed from NWFP when you come into power. Is this correct?
A: If our people do not want that foreign troops should be present on their soil, then what is wrong with it. Why should these troops be there?
Q: Has anyone in the Government or President Pervez Musharraf contacted you so far. Any message of congratulations or any communication at all?
A: There has been no communication so far but other people have been congratulating us.
Q: What conclusion are you drawing from this lack of communication?
A: Well it is still early. The final official results are not even out as yet.
Q: What is your final position in the House?
A: It is 3rd after PML-Q and PPPP. We have so far got 55 seats in the National Assembly.
Q: Is there any communication between your party and the PPP so far?
A: Yes we have received a telephone call from Mr Amin Fahim of PPPP who expressed the desire to meet me.
Q: Will you meet him and is there any possibility of an understanding with the PPP?
A: You know everything about us. You know what we agree on and on what issues we differ. Yes I will meet him.
Q: In the new situation any party will find it difficult to form a majority. You have got the balancing power?
A: All the parties in the National Assembly can gang up and join hands against us as well.
Q: Are you ready to sit in the Opposition and face all of them?
A: Why not, we will not compromise on our principles.
Q: There have been some reports and comments about differences within the MMA. Would you like to comment?
A: There is nothing like this. There is complete confidence, understanding and solidarity in all the parties.
Q: Are there any meetings planned?
A: Yes we will first hold MMA meetings. We have summoned a meeting on Tuesday (Oct 15, 2002).
Q: Are any independents talking to you for joining the MMA?
A: Yes they are.
Q: Do you think you will be handed over the Government in NWFP?
A: Why it will not be given? We have a majority.
Q: If there is any hurdle or disturbance (‘gar bar’) what will be the reaction?
A: What ‘gar bar’ can be done. Will they have fresh elections? What can they do?
Q: Is there any chance of Governor’s Rule in NWFP? Is there any talk about it?
A: No there is no chance and there is no possibility of Governor’s Rule. Otherwise there will be great turmoil, a huge crisis (‘Buhat Bara Fassad Barpa Hoga Phir’). If they will not hand over the Government to us how will they control the province. They have to keep law and order, it is a sensitive province. After such a heavy mandate how is it possible not to give us the Government. We have not been brought by the Army or the Establishment. It is not possible to push us away by twisting our ears. We have people supporting us and we have come through the democratic process. And we have not done anything as yet. Why are you getting so panicky. We are in touch with the officials here.
Q: How are these officials responding to you?
A: They are our friends. We have been together. We meet each other. No body is concerned that we will come into power.
Q: So you think power will be transferred to you smoothly?
A: Yes Inshallah. It will be done in a very friendly atmosphere. In an atmosphere of love. There is no tension here at all. Those who have lost here have also congratulated us. They are also ready to cooperate with us. Whether it is PPP, ANP or PML, all are happy that there has been a change.
Q: What is the position in Balochistan and are you in a position to form a Government there?
A: MMA is the largest party in Balochistan. We are talking to others to form a government. There are small parties and groups and we have to seek them out.
Q: Can you join a coalition with PML-QA in the Center?
A: All options are open at this point.
Q: But General Musharraf has not talked to you as yet although you have the balancing power?
A: I think he has not talked to any one.
Q: Why is it so, his reaction should have come by now?
A: He will make a speech, as he had said before the elections.
Q: There are serious concerns here in the US media, some are calling your victory as a Fundamentalist coup, what do you say?
A: Why is it. Do they not believe in the democratic process. People are happy here. If there is any complaint, we have one, in which we were denied a winning seat in Karachi. The results were delayed.