The NWFP-based Awami National Party, concerned at post-September 11 events in Karachi, has advised the Pathans, settled in Sindh, to avoid participating in demonstrations organised by religious parties.

Its leader, Asfandyar Wali camped himself in Karachi for four days talking to the Pashtun speaking people, and even went to the Sindh's second main city of Hyderabad, persuading his supporters to desist from aligning themselves with protesting groups.

As the country's third major force, it was considered an important constituent in the multi-party Alliance for Restoration of Democracy, but Asfandyar and his associates have taken a different line from the conglomerate leader Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan.

The ARD has, been rendered ineffective therefore after two of its most influential members, the People's Party of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and the ANP have started supporting the military government of General Pervez Musharraf for his policies on U.S.-led campaign against Osama bin Laden.

Asfandyar supports the government contention that Afghanistan should have a broad-based, multi-ethnic government, which should be chosen by a Loya Jirga (grand assembly) of elders of the war-torn country.

"A broad-based government in Afghanistan can only be agreed upon through calling the Loya Jirga. It is the last option available," said Asfandyar, while addressing a party meeting in Hyderabad on Friday night.

He claimed what the U.S. was doing in Afghanistan is not a war, but a campaign to nab Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in the attacks on U.S.

He criticised the role of religious parties and said leaders voicing the importance of Jihad, or holy war, are only strengthening their base here. He said the Afghan problem could not be resolved by staging protest demonstrations in Pakistan cities.