Govt to set free over 300 JUI-F activists

Published: June 14, 2010

Govt also agrees to appoint JUI-F man chairman of Council of Islamic Ideology

ISLAMABAD: The government will release more than 300 prisoners arrested for suspected Taliban links to meet a demand of JUI-F to keep a fragile ruling coalition at the Centre intact.

The government has also agreed to appoint the JUI-F’s Maulana Muhammad Khan Sheerani from Balochistan as chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) when its incumbent head retires this week.

The men, some of them close associates of terror network, are being released from various jails of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa because they belong to the Jamiat Ulamae Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

The JUI faction headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman has long been threatening to pull out of the coalition government if its demands, including release of workers arrested on terror charges, are not met.

More than 300 JUI-F activists from various southern districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were picked up by security agencies. They were blamed for either being part of the Taliban network or its active supporters.

The men were arrested from Kohat, Hangu, Tank,

Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Swat, Buner, Dir and Mardan districts since security forces launched an offensive against Taliban suspects in these areas.

So far none of these arrested activists have been charged in any court of law.

The JUI-F has already been successful in securing the release of around 150 of its workers arrested earlier in the year on same charges from Kala Dhaka

- a semi tribal region of Mansehra district.

It is, however, not clear when the process of releasing these ‘political workers’ would start.

A close associate of Fazlur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the release of workers was at the top of several demands the party had earlier forwarded to the government as a condition for continuing support.

The government, he added, had already given a green signal to meet all these demands during a meeting between Maulana Fazl and Interior Minister Rehman Malik recently.

But the final word came from Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who met with two top leaders of the party in Lahore on Sunday.

“We have settled all the matters. Release of our prisoners is one of them,” the JUI official quoted Fazl as telling him over the phone from Lahore.

According to some media reports, Fazl is set to meet President Asif Ali Zardari in a couple of days to announce that he would continue to be part of the ruling coalition.

Neither officials at the Presidency nor the JUI-F, however, confirm this.

Releasing prisoners was, however, not the only demand of the JUI.

It also asked the government to bring Pakistan’s laws in accordance with the provisions of Islam as laid down in the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII).

For this, Maulana asked the government to appoint one of his party’s officials as the head of the council that recommends the government how to Islamise laws.

Gilani, the official added, has acquiesced to this demand.

Published in the Express Tribune, June 14th, 2010.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 14, 2010

Due to a transcription error, an earlier version of this article misstated the abbreviation for the Council of Islamic Ideology. It is CII not CCI.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Jun 14, 2010 - 2:21PM

    Indeed, political necessities, trump security concerns!Recommend

  • abid
    Jun 14, 2010 - 2:58PM

    What the hell man? This should be your top story.

    CII, a very esteemed institution, falling into JUI-F hands? I am disappointed with you, Mr Gilani and Mr Zardari. Expected some courage from you. Stop destroying our institutions!!!!Recommend

  • Fareed Ahmed
    Jun 14, 2010 - 3:37PM

    To stay in power; does one has to go this far?Recommend

  • Mahvesh
    Jun 14, 2010 - 4:17PM

    Fixating on the information regarding JUI-F at the helm at CII. This is going to roll back every smallest possible step for having some sane laws.Recommend

  • Jasmine
    Jun 14, 2010 - 5:49PM

    First of all there is a typo on the top of the story CCI (Line 7) .
    Secondly there is a clear definition of the qualification required for the chairman of the council. In the list of the previous chairmen all were highly qualified, so unfortunate that a class 3 passed Maulana has been appointed as a chairman. The constitution is in english these people aren’t even able to understand that. The PPP government has crossed so many limits this time around.

    1 Justice Abu Saleh Muhammad Akram
    2 Prof. Allama Allauddin Siddiqui
    3 Justice Hamood-ur-Rehman
    4 Justice Muhammad Afzal Cheema
    5 Justice Tanzil-ur-Rahman
    6 Prof. A.W.J. Halepota
    7 Justice Muhammad Haleem
    8 Maulana Kausar Niazi
    9 Iqbal Ahmad Khan
    10 Dr. S.M. Zaman
    11 Dr. S.M. Zaman
    12 Dr. Muhammad Khalid MasudRecommend

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