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Pak parties launch campaign to oust Pervez

Islamabad, Oct. 25 (PTI): Pakistan’s main Opposition parties today launched a public campaign to oust President Pervez Musharraf and pledged to take action against army generals and judges who “legalised” military takeovers and subverted democracy once they are in power.

Kick-starting the campaign, the 15-party Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), which has spearheaded agitations against Musharraf during the last three years, held its first rally to galvanise public opinion against Musharraf, the military and the judges of the superior courts.

Judges who had legitimised the military coup and allowed changes of the constitution would be tried along with army generals under Article six of the constitution when we take over power”, senior PPP leader and chairman of ARD, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, said while addressing the rally.

The ARD comprises of mainstream and moderate political parties including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-) headed by exiled former Prime Ministers, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Holding the judges of superior courts equally responsible for the successive military takeovers in the country, Fahim said: “After every military coup, the judges had legalised it under the doctrine of necessity which caused a great damage to the democracy”.

Accusing the President of compromising Pakistan’s traditional stand on many vital issues due to American pressure, PML- leader Javed Hashmi said Musharraf and the generals had converted Pakistan into a “satellite state of the US”.

He said in contrast to the way Musharraf “buckled on many issues after phone calls from President George W. Bush, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif stood up to sustained pressure mounted by former US President Bill Clinton to prevent Pakistan from going nuclear.

“Clinton had telephoned Sharif many times in 1998 and asked him not to carry out nuclear tests, but the former Prime Minister refused to succumb to the US pressure”, he said.

The credit to build the nuclear deterrence should be given former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Sharif. But the generals punished both of them, by hanging Bhutto and exiling Sharif, he added. Rejecting the government’s claims about the improvement in the lifestyle of the people during Musharraf’s rule, the ARD leaders said the country was passing through a crisis but the rulers were painting a wrong picture.

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