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Pakistan parties call strike, Black Day against Bush visit
K J M Varma in Islamabad | March 02, 2006 17:29 IST
Protesting against US President George W Bush's visit, Pakistan's Islamist parties announced a strike Friday and called for observing March 4 as a 'Black Day' while cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said he would lead a protest rally in Islamabad.
The right wing Islamist alliance Muthahida Majlis Amal said a strike would be observed ahead of Bush's visit against the US polices as well as the recent Danish cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad.
The Pakistan Peoples Party, 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' (Justice Party), told reporters that he would lead a rally on March 4 to condemn the American leader's policies against 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.