Daily Times, Pakistan
June 7, 2007
QUETTA: Mahmood Khan Achakzai, president of the Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement, on Wednesday called for all political parties, civil society, lawyers and journalists to come together to steer the country out of “the worst crisis in its history” by observing a complete two-day nationwide strike.
Addressing a news conference here, Achakzai said Pakistan was going through the most critical period of its history due to the “wrong policies” of military rulers and “the interference of intelligence agencies in internal and external affairs of state”. To help Pakistan overcome the “worst crisis in history,” it was important for all political parties, journalists, lawyers and members of civil society to unite and come out onto the roads in protest, he said. He called for a complete two-day countrywide strike.
The Pakistan Oppressed Nations Movement president demanded the restoration of the political system of the country to the way it was on the eve of the military takeover (October 12, 1999), a permanent end to the role of the army and the intervention of secret agencies in the country’s politics, and the formation of an autonomous election commission comprised of judges who did not take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order.
Achakzai held President General Pervez Musharraf and the Sindh government responsible for the “carnage” in Karachi on May 12 and demanded that the president apologise to the families of the dead. “Mere financial compensation does not alleviate the grief of the bereaved families. The government should apologise for the incident,” he said. He criticised the role of intelligence agencies in Pakistan’s foreign policy and held them responsible for promoting religious extremism and militancy in the country and for exporting terrorists abroad.
It was deplorable that Pakistan’s image had been tarnished internationally, he said. Today, the country is known as a safe haven for terrorists, a launching pad for terrorist activities, and for the proliferation of nuclear technology to other countries. There was a need to change this image but that would happen only if true democracy was restored and the army and intelligence agencies gave up their political role, he said.
The Pashtoon nationalist leader also defended the struggle of the Baloch nationalists, saying they were involved in a just struggle that could not be called a violent movement. The Baloch are fighting for their constitutional rights, he said. “It is wrong to term the Baloch as rebels. They are fighting for ownership of their coast and resources. We completely support them,” he said. staff report