QUETTA, Sept 28: Balochistan National Party President Sardar Akhtar Mengal has turned down an invitation from Prime Minister Yousuf
Raza Gilani to attend an all-party conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the party`s information secretary, Agha Hasan Baloch, Mr Mengal refused to accept the invitation
extended by the establishment secretary on Wednesday because of the alleged military operation in Balochistan and the alleged extra-
judicial killings of people there.
“How can we attend the APC when Baloch people are facing the wrath of the government,” he said, adding that on the one hand
the rulers had launched the military operation and on the other hand they were inviting “us to sit with those elements involved in
the excesses against Baloch people”.
Mr Mengal expressed the hope that other nationalist and patriotic political parties would also boycott the conference.
APC on Pakistan-US tensions
Thursday, September 29, 2011
* Senior military officials to brief political leadership about ground situation, available options
ISLAMABAD: All-Parties Conference (APC) will begin here today (Thursday) to devise a future course of action with national consensus
regarding US allegations against Pakistan concerning Haqqani network.
Sources said that representatives of Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies would also attend the APC called by Prime Minister Yousaf
Raza Gilani to discuss the tense diplomatic stand-off with US and to decide a future course of action. The conference is expected to discuss
Pak-US ties and the country’s security situation. Leaders of all political parties, including those not represented in parliament, and heads of
religious groups have accepted the invitation to attend the crucial meeting, sources said.
The meeting will begin soon after the Zuhr prayers, and will take a threadbare look at the overall security situation, particularly in the wake
of serious charges levelled by the US officials against Pakistan and its military establishment. The political leadership would be briefed by
senior military officials about the ground situation and the available options. The political leadership is likely to come up with suggestions to
forcefully project Pakistan’s stance and clear the misperceptions about its security forces.
The meeting would also take into account the heavy toll the nation has taken in human and financial terms over the years for being a front-
line state in the war on terror and the fact that it was still being criticised for not doing enough.
Political leaders attending the meeting, as confirmed by the Prime Minister’s House, include: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q chief
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, MQM’s Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman,
Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Syed Munawar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami, ex-PM Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
Top brass to face tough questions at APC
By Khawar Ghumman
ISLAMABAD: The federal capital hosts the biggest-ever political gathering for many years when leaders of almost all political and religious
organisations meet on Thursday at an All-Party Conference convened by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss the situation arising
out of serious allegations levelled by US officials against Pakistan’s armed forces and its intelligence agency, the ISI.
The nation has pinned great hopes on leaders representing all shades of opinion to evolve a framework for the country’s foreign and
security policies and to set direction for its progress on genuinely independent lines.
The top military leadership invited to the conference may face some tough questions, especially from the PML-N chief, Mian Nawaz Sharif,
and leaders of nationalist and religious parties about what is considered to be ambiguous relationship with the West, particularly the United
States, and military’s engagement on western borders.
The conference has one-point agenda — national security in the aftermath of security challenges emerging from outside the country.
Because of the US allegations that the ISI is hand in glove with the Haqqani network, the two countries are facing a tough challenge to keep
their alliance intact in the so-called war against terrorism.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne will attend the
conference while ISI Director General Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha is expected to make a detailed presentation on national security concerns
besetting the country vis-à-vis US interests in Afghanistan.
It will be an in-camera briefing, but Mr Sharif has made his intentions clear by saying that will not only raise all important issues and ask
tough questions, but also address the media after the conference.
Private TV channels quoted him as saying that “real hard facts” should be shared with the political leadership of the country.
Talking to Dawn, PML-N’s spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan said Mr Sharif and the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan would ensure that something concrete came out of the APC.
He said the party leadership had decided to fully participate in the conference because the nature of tension between Pakistan and the US
had risen to the maximum. He said the PPP-led government had developed so many grey areas that nothing positive could be expected
Since his return from exile in Saudi Arabia in 2007, Mr Sharif has been critical of the army’s overwhelming role in the country’s foreign and
defence policies. And there is a perception that because of this he is no more welcome in the military establishment.
Nationalist parties in Balochistan have also expressed reservations over the military’s role in the province. They are likely raise the issue at
the conference which, observers suggest, may include target killings in Karachi and lawlessness in Balochistan.
It will be the third APC under the present government. The first was held on Dec 2, 2008, in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks when India
threatened to take punitive actions. The conference presided over by the prime minister had lasted more than five hours.
A seven-point declaration issued after the conference stated that the leaders and representatives of political parties unanimously
condemned the Mumbai attacks and expressed unwavering resolve of the Pakistani nation to defend its honour and dignity, sovereignty,
political independence and territorial integrity. It said all political parties and democratic forces firmly supported the government and the
armed forces in defending Pakistan’s security.
The second APC was held on May 18, 2009, which lasted about nine hours. Its 16-point resolution unanimously backed the government’s
counter-insurgency operation in Swat and Malakand division and resolved to try to unite the nation in the face of insurgency.
To come up with such sweeping resolutions at Thursday’s APC will be a tough call for the participants because the US has been an ally of
Pakistan for a long time and particularly after 9/11. Besides receiving military and economic aid, Pakistan heavily banks on the US for its
exports. American is the main trading partner of Pakistan and, therefore, economic managers of the country will advise the participants to
take a moderate line in the final resolution.
The APC is expected to be attended by about 55 leaders who will be briefed not only by security officials but also by ministers of foreign and
interior affairs and finance.
According to a spokesman of the Prime Minister House, political leaders who have confirmed their participation are: PML-N chief Nawaz
Sharif, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, ANP President Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F Amir Maulana
Fazlur Rehman, PML-F’s Haji Khuda Bux Rajar, Fata MNA Haji Munir Khan Aurakzai, PPP-S chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Ghulam
Murtaza Khan Jatoi of the National People’s Party, Senator Mir Israrullah Zehri of BNP-A, Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Syed Munawar Hassan, former
prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, PKMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Senator Salim Saifullah Khan of PML (like-minded), PML-
A chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, PTI chief Imran Khan, Hasil Khan Bazenjo of NPB, Allama Sajid Ali Naqvi of TJP, Senator Shahid Hassan Bugti
of JWP, Dr Tahir-ul- Qadri of Tahrik-i-Minhajul Quran, Hamid Ali Shah Moosvi of TNFJ, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq of JUI-S, Sarwat Ejaz Qadri of
Sunni Tahrik, Muhammad Hanif Tayyab of Nizam-i-Mustafa Party, Sahibzada Abu Khair Muhammad Zubair of JUP-N, Pir Fazal Haq of Jamiat
Mashaikh, Sahibzada Muhammad Fazal Karim of Sunni Ittehad Council, Dr Paul Bhatti, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Harmony,
Ameer Hussain Gilani, Mufti Feroze Din Hazarvi of Muttahida Ulema Forum, Abdul Qadeer Khamosh, Allama Tahir Ashrafi of Ulema Council
Bait-ul-Aman, Sardar Attique Ahmad Khan, former AJK prime minister and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Leader of Opposition in Senate.
Akhtar Mengal turns down APC
By Amanullah Kasi
Set 29, 2011