SLMC Leader Rauff Hakim asserts his position

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 December 2002, 14:04 GMT]
"I am still the leader of the Muslims and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress," declared Minister Mr.Rauff Hakim Tuesday at a hurriedly arranged press conference held at party headquarters Darussalam in Colombo on his return from Oslo. Mr.Hakim identified the present situation in the SLMC "as an act of opportunist conspiracy to change the balance of power in parliament."

A large number of SLMC parliamentarians and supporters thronged the Katunayake international airport to receive Mr.Rauff Hakim when he arrived from Oslo via London. In London he discussed the volatile situation in his party with Sri Lanka High Commission for United Kingdom Mr.Faiz Mustapha.

On his arrival his supporters took Mr.Hakim in a motorcade to Colombo. He attended the press briefing along with six SLMC parliamentarians Messrs K.M.Thowfeek (Trincomalee district, M.S.Thoufeek, Basheer Segu Dawood, Anwar Ismail, H.M.M.Harris and Richad Badiudin. Five other SLMC parliamentarians Ministers A.L.Athaullah and Noordeen Mashoor, Deputy Minister Mohideen Abdul Cader and M.P.A.Azeez did not participate at the press briefing.

Mr.Rauff Hakim further said if the conspiracy to change the balance of power in parliament is allowed the country would face another war. "As the leader of the SLMC my aim is to prevent such dreadful situation in the country," stressed Mr.Rauff Hakim.

The rebel group led by Minister A.L.M.Athaullah Monday announced at a press briefing that the party had expelled Mr.Hakim from the post of leader of the SLMC in reply to the expulsion of him and Dr Hafrath from the posts of chairman and general secretary of the SLMC by Minister Rauff Hakim Sunday evening.

"The rebel group is trying to make out the internal squabble of the party as a national crisis. This cannot be allowed. We should tackle this crisis intelligently. We cannot allow the saboteurs to derail the peace process which is now being taken forward in the correct direction," Minister Mr.Rauff Hakim told journalists.

Replying to a question Minister Hakim said he is ready to face the masses and explain his stand on national issues. To another question Mr.Rauff Hakim challenged the authority concerned to remove him from the ministerial portfolio if possible.

The rebel group led by Minister Athaullah (under expulsion by Mr.Hakim from the post of chairman of SLMC) Monday night had met the President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge and requested her to remove Mr.Hakim from the post of minister.

Minister Hakim further told journalists that he is prepared to present facts and discuss problems with a legally constituted supreme council of the SLMCA.

"The posts of Chairman and General Secretary of the SLMC have been indefinitely suspended in order to resolve the internal crisis," SLMC spokesman said.

In the last general election the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress polled 105,346 votes. This was 1.18 percent of the total votes polled in that election.

 

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