Pakistan-opposition ban Pakistan stops opposition leaders to visit US bombing site
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, Jan 23, IRNA
Pakistani authorities on Monday stopped a group of opposition leaders and journalists from entering the Bajur tribal region. They wanted to visit the site of a US air strike in which 18 persons were killed last week.
The opposition leaders planned to visit Damadola village to express solidarity with the families, whose members lost lives in the American missiles attack on three houses. Women and children were among those died in the air strike.
A 70-member group of the opposition leaders and journalists were stopped at Yaka Ghund check post, 40 kilometers from Peshawar, by the tribal authorities.
The government had deployed a large number of paramilitary force and local militia at Yaka Ghund, the beginning point of the tribal area, who stopped the opposition leaders there.
A local government officer Muhammad Jameel told reporters that the federal government had ordered ban on the entry of the delegation in the tribal area.
The delegation was led by chief of the alliance of Islamic groups Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) Qazi Hussain Ahmed.
We condemn the entry ban. It is regrettable that US troops are free to target civilians inside Pakistan but we are not allowed to freely move in our own country, Qazi Hussain told a gathering at the check post after the delegation was stopped.
He asked President Musharraf to step down as he has failed to protect the lives of the people.
Another MMA senior leader Maulana Fazal ur Rehman demanded expulsion of the American ambassador from Pakistan and recalling Pakistani envoy from Washington as protest against the US air strike.
He also demanded the American administration to tender apology for the killing of innocent people.
He also demanded of the government to raise the issue in the UN Security Council.
Opposition Peoples Party leader Makhdoom Amin Faheem speaking on the occasion condemned the government restrictions and said the opposition leaders wanted to offer condolences with the victims families.
He described the government action as unconstitutional and illegal as well as contrary to free movement.
Opposition Muslim League leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the government's action shows that it wants to hide something from the people.
Imran Khan of opposition Tehrik-e-Insaf alleged that government has miserably failed to protect the lives of the people. He said the government policy has encouraged the American forces to commit border violation and to target Pakistanis on their land.
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