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Jamaat-ud-Dawa thumbs nose at ban and Zardari

Thumbing its nose at the UN ban and slamming the Zardari government, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa rallied virtually every religious party...

| New Delhi |
December 23, 2008 8:59:44 am

Thumbing its nose at the UN ban and slamming the Zardari government, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa rallied virtually every religious party in Pakistan at a meeting in Lahore to issue a ten-point charter of demands.

These include an “immediate end to military operations along the Afghan border so that tribals can defend (Pakistan) against an Indian invasion, closure of supply lines to NATO troops and an end to the support to US-led coalition forces.”

Especially convened to discuss the ban and the India-Pakistan tension, the conference was attended by Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s central leaders Moulana Shamshad Ahmad Salfi and Moulana Saifullah Khalid; its public relations heads for Frontier province and Punjab Ateeq Chouhan and Khalid Bashir; and its deputy spokesman Abdullah Muntazir.

A statement by Jamaat-ud-Dawa’s Urdu website — operational despite the UN ban — announced an “All Parties Defence of Pakistan” conference that threatened to launch a nationwide movement to seek an immediate end to the ban and the release of Lashkar founder Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed.

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It also called for the recall of Pakistan’s permanent envoy to UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon. “The appointment of a person as Pakistan’s envoy to UN who does not have any experience of diplomacy is tantamount to playing with the national interest of Pakistan,” the conference said.

“We will launch a movement for the defence of Pakistan and the hatred for India among people. We continue our movement to pressure the government to lift the ban on Jamat-ud-Dawa. We promise we are with Jamaat-ud-Dawa in these difficult times and will not succumb to any pressure,” the statement said. “Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is a peace-loving citizen. His detention should be immediately ended. He should be allowed to address Friday sermons and other religious congregations”.

Also present at the meeting were senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees, Jamaat-e-Ulema-e- Islam, Jamaat-e-Ahle Sunnat, Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, Jamia Manzoor al-Islamia, Al Khidmat Foundation, Tehreek-e-Khaksar, Tehreek-e-Istiqlal, and Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The chief of Pakistan’s ex-servicemen society, Major General (retired) Shafeeq and president of National Labour Federation Mohammad Rafiq Ahmad Khan were also present.

Among the key demands of the all-party conference:

India be declared an enemy country, all links (with New Delhi) be snapped.

Operations in tribal regions be immediately stopped so that tribals can be prepared to defend Pakistan against an “invasion” from India.

Pak government must immediately announce closure of supply lines to NATO forces.

Pakistan must remind Security Council that its resolutions on Kashmir and Palestine are waiting for implementation.

Pak government is using the Security Council (ban) resolution as an excuse to “please India by sacrificing frontline religious and social organizations.” Islamabad should re-open Jamaat-ud-Dawa offices.

The conference accused Zardari’s office of canvassing support from China to ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and asked Islambad to now seek Chinese help to end the ban.

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