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WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 22: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf answers questions from the press corps during a joint news conference with U.S. President George W. Bush in the East Room of the White House September 22, 2006 in Washington, DC. The two leaders met earlier in the day in the Oval Office and discussed a wide range of issues. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Musharraf forms ‘grand alliance’ of 23 political parties

JK NNI NEWS

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

Pakistan’s former dictator Pervez Musharraf has formed a “grand alliance” of 23 political parties, according to media reports.

The grand alliance named Pakistan Awami Ittehad (PAI) will be headed by 74-year-old Musharraf, while Iqbal Dar has been appointed as Secretary General.

Addressing media persons through video conferencing from Dubai, the former president said all parties representing Muhajir (migrant) community should be united, local media reported.

He invited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) to join the new political alliance.

About the nature of alliance, he said all the member parties will contest together with one name.

Musharraf denied reports that he was going to head the MQM, claiming that it was “ridiculous” to think that he would want to be head of a “minor, ethnic party”.

“MQM-Pakistan is merely half of what the (original) party used to be,” he said. “I am concerned about (the internal problems) of the party; however, I have no interest in replacing Farooq Sattar or Mustafa Kamal even if their parties are united,” he insisted.

Criticising MQM, he said that the party and the muhajir community have lost respect. “The muhajir community would do better to abandon ethnic politics and join PAI,” he said.

He expressed hope that Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leaders Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi would join his grand alliance as well.

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