The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Silent defiance stares at Pervez

Peshawar, June 12 (AFP): The Islamist-ruled local parliament in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province observed two minutes’ silence to protest President Pervez Musharraf’s tirade against their orthodox Islamisation programme, reports said today.

Musharraf has accused them of defying the people and Pakistan’s founders by trying to impose a Taliban style of Islam, giving Pakistan a negative fundamentalist image when it needed to be progressive and modern.

Musharraf brought his renewed outburst against the MMA to its heartland on Tuesday, when he inaugurated a tunnel in NWFP’s Kohat district.

He said there was no room for Talibanisation in Pakistan and flayed attempts to order people to wear veils and discard western dress.

“This reflects shallow-mindedness,” he said.

“Pakistan has to decide whether we want a Talibanised version of Islam, or a civilised and progressive version of Islam in its true spirit,” Musharraf said.

The six-party religious alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) which rules NWFP retorted defiantly that it would not be swayed from its Islamisation drive, for which it claims a popular mandate.

“As long as we are in power in the province we will take steps in accordance with Islam and within in the bounds of constitution,” provincial law minister Malik Zafar Azam told the local assembly.

Azam said while the MMA government had not ordered people to grow beards, beards were in accordance with Islamic teachings.

Further, NWFP chief minister Akram Durrani vowed that the MMA would not compromise on its Islamic manifesto.

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