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MMA President says locals were 'dubbed' foreigners in Lal Masjid
Terming the Pakistani Government's claims of involvement of Islamic fighters from neighbouring countries in the Lal Masjid stand-off a "joke," the leader of opposition Jamat-e-Islami today alleged that locals were "dubbed" as foreigners.

Addressing a condolence meeting in Rawalpindi today, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said the government claimed that a large number of foreigners were present in Lal Masjid, but none were found or detained during the operation.

"It is joke that locals are being dubbed as foreigners," Hussain, who is also President of the Islamist alliance Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA), said.

Ahmed said one the student being shown as a foreigner belonged to Attock in Punjab, and accused the military government of conducting the operation only to please America.

Hussain yesterday announced his resignation from the National Assembly in protest against the military operation on the Masjid, but so far no lawmaker from the MMA's five other constituent parties have come forward to resign along with him.

He said the government could be removed if around 100,000 people staged a 'sit-in' in Islamabad.

He claimed that beside his spouse and daughter, the MMA Secretary Maulana Fazlur Rehman did his best to peacefully resolve the Masjid stand-off, but the government created hurdles and foiled every effort for a negotiated solution.

He also claimed authorities had reached an agreement with the slain cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi but the terms of the settlement were changed by Musharraf at the eleventh hour.

16-07-2007 06:44 PTI
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