KARACHI: A day after the PPP, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party declared that they would not leave the electoral ground to militants and their political wings, the three parties alleged on Tuesday night that they were being compelled to boycott the May 11 elections.

Senator Shahi Syed of the ANP, Rehman Malik of the PPP and Dr Farooq Sattar of the MQM addressed a joint press conference at the MQM’s ‘Nine Zero’ headquarters.

While Dr Sattar said that conspiracies were being hatched to hijack the elections and democracy, Mr Malik told the press conference these conspiracies were actually aimed at disintegrating Pakistan.

Dr Sattar said that the world powers wanted to bring a government of rightwing parties just to ensure their safe exit from Afghanistan.

He warned that if pro-Taliban forces came to power in the country, they would bring instability to the whole region.

He said that Pakistan was heading towards an ‘unjust and unfair election’ and national and international establishments were involved in this conspiracy.

“A clear message has been sent to moderate, liberal and progressive parties that either they will be forced to boycott the elections and if they don’t (boycott) then it is clear that they would not be given equal opportunity to contest the polls,” the MQM leader said.

He said that the ANP, the PPP and the MQM believed that the establishment was giving an open field to rightwing conservative parties to contest the elections.

Dr Sattar urged the caretaker government, the Election Commission of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies to fulfil their constitutional and legal obligations by holding free, fair and transparent elections.

The ANP’s Shahi Syed, who until recently was considered the MQM’s nemesis, said the three parties should evolve a joint strategy to fight against terrorists who were targeting innocent people.

“We will not allow these terrorists to decide about our parliament…no one can enter parliament with the support of these terrorists,” he added.

He said that the terrorists were targeting the ANP, PPP and MQM, but fighting against them was the responsibility of every patriotic citizen and party.

He declared that threats would never force the three parties to run away from the field.

Mr Malik said that the elections were a contest between anti-Taliban and pro-Taliban parties.

He used the opportunity to criticise PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and PTI chairman Imran Khan, saying the nation wanted to know whether there was any “unwritten agreement between them and the terrorists” as it appeared that the “Taliban are providing them protection”.

He said the Taliban wanted to bring their own prime minister and it was high time that the whole nation stood up to them.

He said that President Asif Zardari, MQM chief Altaf Hussain and ANP president Asfandyar Wali had decided to fight against terrorists. “We do not want to fight…we just want to save the people of Pakistan.”

Earlier, a number of MQM workers welcomed Senator Syed and Mr Malik when they reached the ‘Nine Zero’.

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