Maulana Fazlur Rehman is adamant – and will not be moved, even if the president calls.
Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Fazl on Saturday turned down a request by President Asif Ali Zardari to rejoin proceedings of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS).
The all-party, bicameral panel is redrafting fresh terms of engagement with the United States.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called and convinced the chief of the opposition, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, to end his party’s boycott of PCNS proceedings.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman thanked President Zardari for the gesture but said the decision (to rejoin the parliamentary committee) would be taken by the party,” a JUI-F official told The Express Tribune. “I cannot change the party’s decision,” Fazl was quoted as saying. The official said that a party meeting has not been convened yet and it might take a few more days.
He said the president expressed regret for the misbehaviour of some rights activists and asked the JUI-F chief to rejoin parliamentary committee meetings.
On Friday, dozens of civil society activists reached the Parliament House and chanted slogans against the JUI-F chief. Some of them tried to enter the committee room where discussions over the domestic violence bill were under way.
The president informed Fazl that he had sought a report from the National Assembly on how representatives of some NGOs managed to reach the Parliament House, the official said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2012.