Protests at Musharraf`s party launch in Manchester

Pak`s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was greeted with protests at the launch of his new party in Manchester.

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2010, 19:13 PM IST

London: Instead of cheers, Pakistan`s former
military ruler Pervez Musharraf was greeted with protests at
the launch of his new party in Manchester, where activists
shouted slogans against him calling him a "traitor".

The launch of his All Pakistan Muslim League before a
packed gathering in Manchester over the weekend followed
similar events in London and Birmingham.

Reports from Manchester said nearly 2,000 people were
packed into Manchester`s Sheridan Suite, where he launched his
party with the objective of restoring a new political culture
in a troubled Pakistan, despite protests inside and outside
the building.

After a musical start with positive images of the former
president`s vision for Pakistan under his new party, Musharraf
had barely begun to speak when the first protester began
shouting, calling him a "traitor."

Seven more protesters stood up one by one to accuse
Musharraf of corruption while in power, failure to
institutionalise democracy and said the people of Pakistan
were waiting for a real change for the country through the
implementation of `caliphate` state.

The reports quoted one of the protesters, Mohammed
Kassim, as saying: "I stood up very close to the stage, almost
face-to-face with Musharraf, and started to speak out.

Musharraf, the former general was taken back and moved away
from the microphone, startled and clearly visibly shaken.
I called him a traitor, and said that I wanted a caliphate for
Pakistan."

The protesters were reportedly mainly from the Hizb
ut-Tahrir Britain.

The launch event was further marred by chanting and
slogan shouting as pictures of Musharraf were ripped, the
reports said.

The protesters were then escorted out by security.

Addressing the gathering, Musharraf said the protests
would not deter him from his goals.

He said he should have remained Chief of Army Staff for
another five years and added that he would return to Pakistan
for the next general elections, scheduled for 2013.

PTI