The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief announced on Friday to boycott proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security after alleging that the government had already decided to restore the Nato supply line.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman had earlier said that his party would oppose the decision to reopen Nato supply routes, conditionally or unconditionally, at every forum. Senator Raza Rabbani of the PPP also held a meeting with him to try and persuade Rehman to take his decision back, but the latter remained unmoved.
On Friday, he announced to detach himself from the proceedings of the 27-member committee, currently reviewing the country’s foreign policy, after alleging that the decision had already been taken by the Pakistan Peoples Party-government and getting it approved from Parliament was now a mere formality.
“The government has already taken a decision in favour of the US and just want Parliament’s stamp to fool us,” he said, while speaking to reporters outside the Parliament House. Commenting on Fazl’s boycott Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, while talking to reporters in Hyderabad, said that while members of the parliamentary committee could show their reservations, “we’ll try to bring a consensus based decision.”
The JUI-F chief further alleged that all issues between the US and Pakistan were settled recently during President Asif Ali Zardar’s visit to Tajikistan and a draft of PCNS’ recommendations was shared with the US through backdoor diplomacy.
The maulana said that since it is PPP’s last year to rule over Pakistan, it wants to take advantage of charging the US for restoring the supply line. The last nail in the coffin, he added, was the high-profile visits of US officials, who, he alleged, are setting their agenda with PPP rulers.
Fazl claimed that he and some other members of the committee had serious reservations over the proposals presented in the joint sitting of Parliament, and many things that were not even in their notice were revealed in the recommendations.
“We took part in the proceedings of the joint sitting to make the foreign policy independent but it seems useless to be part of committees and proceedings of Parliament,” he said.
Fazl also expressed disappointment over the lack of debate in the joint sitting to review terms of engagement with US.
He also announced that he will not attend the joint session to oppose a bill on domestic violence.
Earlier in the day, the PCNS chairman cancelled a meeting scheduled for Friday afternoon as a majority of members were not present. The meeting will now take place on Monday, April 9.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.