ISLAMABAD: Though not unconditionally, the Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has called off its boycott of a parliamentary panel tasked to reconfigure the country’s foreign policy.
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) is currently reviewing its own recommendations after they were rejected by opposition parties in a joint sitting of Parliament.
“I will go to the committee on Thursday – but only to explain what we want and why we oppose using Parliament for reopening Nato supply routes,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman told a news conference in Islamabad on Wednesday evening.
The JUI-F chief made the announcement following a series of meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, PCNS Chairperson Senator Raza Rabbani and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman.
At Senator Rabbani’s request, the Maulana has agreed to attend the panel’s meeting on Thursday, said officials from the JUI-F. But, they added, this would not mean the party supported the possible reopening of the Nato supply routes by the government.
“We will give a dissenting note,” said a top leader of JUI-F after the Maulana’s meeting with President Zardari.
The JUI-F, which cashes in on popular anti-American sentiments, has been adamantly opposing the reopening of Nato supply routes because it does not want to alienate its right-wing vote-bank, especially at a time when parliamentary election is just around the corner.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2012.