Pak Islamists call strike to protest Bush visit

Also, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said he would lead a protest rally in Islamabad.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 14:22 IST

Protesting against US President George W Bush's visit, Pakistan's Islamist parties have announced a strike on Fridayand called for observing March 4 as a 'Black Day'.

Also, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan has said he would lead a protest rally in Islamabad.

The right wing Islamist alliance Muthahida Majlis Amal (MMA) said a strike would be observedon Fridayahead of Bush's visit against the US polices as well as the recent Danish cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.

The Pakistan Peoples Party, (PPP) headed by self-exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has disassociated with the strike. It said it would hand over a protest note to the US Ambassador in Islamabad.

Imran Khan, heading the Tehrik-e-Insaf party, told reporters in Islamabad on Wednesdaythat he would lead a rally on March 4 to condemn the American leader's policies against the Muslims.

The rally was, however, not against the American people, he said.

Khan invited all political, religious parties, people from all walks of life and human right organisations to join the rally to protest against the alleged human rights violations by the US.

The rally will begin from Rawalpindi and march towards Islamabad.

He said that President Bush, in fact, wanted to visit India and "he is visiting Pakistan to please President Pervez Musharraf."

Khan, a former Musharraf ally turned opponent, is now aligned with the MMA in opposing Musharraf's policies.

He alleged that President Bush "fought an illegal war in Iraq and is violating Geneva Convention at Guantanamo Bay prison."

Accusing Bush of adopting double standards on democracy, he said the US was supporting General Musharraf in military uniform.

"The rally is also against President Bush's support to military ruler in Pakistan," he said.

Referring to Wednesday's attack by Pakistan army on an Al-Qaeda training camp in North Waziristan, he said Pakistan security forces killed 30 Muslims in the north Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday to welcome President Bush.

"Thirty Muslims were killed just to please President Bush," Khan said.

Khan said that President Pervez Musharraf handed over 700 people to the US "in violation of the Pakistani constitution."

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 17:27 IST