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ARD moots separate alliance with MMA

india Updated: Jun 22, 2006 13:50 IST

Pakistan's Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) is contemplating a separate alliance with the Islamist conglomerate Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) to consolidate the broad front against President Pervez Musharraf.

The ARD will not seek major changes in the Charter of Democracy (CoD), signed by former Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto in London last month.

Instead, it will strive to reach another agreement with the MMA on a "minimum common agenda", ARD Secretary General Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was quoted as saying in Daily Times.

The ARD leadership has finalised the agenda for its July 2 meeting in London with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The MMA wants that should the signatories of the CoD come to power, they should not legislate on existing laws, including the Hudood Ordinance, based on the Islamic sharia.

Jhagra said the ARD would ask the religious alliance, ruling in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), to sign another agreement with it in case it did not accept the charter.

"If the MMA doesn't sign the charter, it will still remain the main agenda or manifesto of the ARD and other signatories. And the ARD will cooperate with the MMA under another agreement," he said.

He said the "minimum agenda" with the MMA would include opposition to military rule in the future, the restoration of the 1973 constitution, the formation of an independent Election Commission and free and fair general elections.

The ARD secretary general noted that the PPP and the MMA could not develop a consensus on issues such as the Hudood Ordinance. However, such issues should not hinder cooperation between the two parties on other matters.

The two alliances had agreed to launch a campaign against Musharraf in September, he said, adding that the campaign would continue until their demands were met.

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