- ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) - An estimated 2,000 Pakistani Islamists vowed
Sunday to continue their support for Afghanistan's ousted Taliban militia
and its al Qaida allies, and to oppose President Musharraf's plan to secularize
their own country.
- Called by the Islamic extremist Council
for Defense of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the rally heard slogans lauding
fugitive terrorist leaders Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammed Omar.
- The council is an umbrella organization
of more than a dozen religious parties who support Afghanistan's Taliban
movement and condemn their own government for joining the U.S.-led anti-terrorist
- "Those pushing Pakistan towards
secularism must go somewhere else. There is no place for them in Pakistan,"
Syed Manawar Hasan, a leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, told the rally.
- He said Musharraf's pledge to turn Pakistan
into a secular state had "justified our decision to oppose him and
the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan from the very beginning. It has proved
that the war in Afghanistan is not against Taliban, it is against Islam."
- Defending bin Laden, he declared: "Osama
is not the name of an individual. He is a movement ... a movement which
shall definitely achieve its goal."
- Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a leader of the
pro-Taliban JUI party, described the collapse of the Taliban regime in
Afghanistan as "a strategic withdrawal," promising that "the
Taliban and al Qaida will be revived again under the leadership of Mullah
Omar and Osama bin Laden."
- "Their movement has already achieved
its objective. They have awakened the Muslims against America's conspiracy
to destroy Islam," he claimed.
- Meanwhile, the parents of thousands of
Pakistani volunteers who went to Afghanistan during the war have appealed
to the United Nations and the International Red Cross to help free their
- In a written statement released Sunday,
the parents informed the two organizations the prisoners were "living
in inhuman conditions at Shabarghan prison in northern Afghanistan and
can be exterminated."
- Warlord leaders of the Northern Alliance
are holding the volunteers -- who were captured alongside their Afghan
allies as the Taliban regime collapsed late last year -- despite having
released most of the Afghans they fought with and having turned the non-Pakistani
foreigners over to the United States.
- The Red Cross has asked the parents to
get in touch with its officials in Peshawar if they want to send letters
to the detainees.
- Copyright 2002 by United Press International.
- All rights reserved.