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Tuesday, Jan 25, 2022
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Pakistan

ARD To Boycott All-Party Meet

Set back for Musharraf --ARD including PPP and PML(N) to boycott tomorrow's meet - only MQM, Jammat-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Insaaf to attend.

ARD To Boycott All-Party Meet
ARD To Boycott All-Party Meet
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In a major setback to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, the 19-party Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), including PPP and PML (N), today decided to boycott an all-party meeting convened by him tomorrow to discuss his forthcoming visit to India. 

The decision was taken at a three-hour long meeting of ARD Coordination Committee in Lahore.  Barring Awami National Party (ANP), all other constituents agreed to disregard Musharraf's invitation for a luncheon meeting tomorrow to discuss the issues to be taken up during his summit meeting with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at Agra, ARD chief Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan said.

ARD, however, made it clear that its decision to boycott the meeting has nothing against Musharraf going to India for the summit but was to protest his "unconstitutional and undemocratic" decision to take over the Presidency. The Alliance said it favoured resolution of all contentious issues, including the Kashmir problem, with India through negotiations.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of former Premier Benazir  Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif, the two major constituents of the Alliance, had already announced their decision not to attend the meeting convened by Musharraf. 

There are indications that other parties including Muttahid Quami Movement (MQM), Jamaat-e-Islami and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf will attend the meeting for which 24 leaders in all are invited. 

The Central Executive Committee of the PPP, which met here last evening, decided to stay away from the meeting to protest against four major issues including Government's failure to announce the date for elections and Musharraf's taking over as president. PPP's Deputy General Secretary Raza Rabbani said "Musharraf's regime lacked constitutional and popular mandate to settle vital national issues, therefore it is meaningless for the party to attend the meeting convened by him."

The Party has been advocating a dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir. But the dialogue should be held by elected representatives than coup leaders, he said, adding the party has referred the decision (of boycotting the meeting) for approval of Bhutto.

MQM Appeal

Meanwhile, Pakistan's third largest Party, the Muthahaida Quami Movement (MQM), today urged the top political parties of the country to attend the all party meeting convened by President General Pervez Musharraf tomorrow and inform him that only the elected government would have a legal mandate to hold talks with Indian leaders.

The political parties, including the umbrella group Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), should attend the meeting and prevail upon Musahrraf that any discussion on Kashmir with Indian leaders would be fruitful only if they  were held by elected government, MQM leader Altaf Hussain said in a statement issued from London.

"The elected government will have the constitutional and legal right to talk to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over the differences, including Kashmir issue, between the two countries with consensus and will of the people of Pakistan," he said.

Hussain said the decision by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (PML) to boycott the meeting with Musharraf was not a solution to any issue. But it was in the larger interest of the country to ask Musharraf to hold the elections first, he added. 

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