KARACHI June 21, Reuter: Pakistan’s main opposition alliance was deeply divided today over plans to stage a joint campaign with other opponents of military President Mohammad ZiaulHaq.
After three days of talks, leaders of the nineparty Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) could not agree on a proposal for an allparty conference to press for immediate elections.
Alliance politicians said the main hurdle was Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s most prominent opposition leader, who today celebrated her 34th birthday.
Bhutto objected to the inclusion in the proposed conference of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, a highranking defector from her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), they said.
Bhutto, daughter of executed former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, accuses Jatoi’s newlyformed National People’s Party (NPP) of working for Zia, a charge repeatedly denied.
The politicians said Bhutto was demanding that they NPP reverse its registration under the government’s electoral laws before being invited to attend the conference.
The idea of bringing the MRD and other parties together follows the Opposition’s continuing failure to mobilize popular resistance to Zia, who seized power ina coup 10 years ago next month.
Zia says the current Parliament, elected in controversial nonparty elections in 1985, was democratically chosen and that fresh polls are not due until 1990.
Article extracted from this publication >> June 26, 1987