Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while softening his anti-establishment rhetoric, has offered an olive branch to the latter to rectify shortcomings in the system.
“Reconciliation or resistance with the establishment is not our aim. Everyone must work within their constitutional limits,” Fazl said while addressing a press conference following his party central executive committee meeting held in Islamabad on Tuesday.
The JUI-F chief said the establishment is bound by the oath that they would not meddle in political matters. “If we are bound to do politics under oath, then they [establishment] are bound not to do politics under same oath.”
Fazl said that state affairs are not only run by politicians alone but the establishment and the bureaucracy are also part of the decision-making process. “I am in favour of dialogue with the establishment to rectify the current shortcomings,” he remarked.
Speaking about the recently-held by-elections in the country, the JUI-F chief said election results made it clear that what happens when the establishment does not intervene in the electoral process.
Commenting on claims of a senior Pentagon official that Pakistan had allowed the US military to use the country’s airspace to support its presence in Afghanistan, Fazl said it is against the national interest to allow any foreign country to "use our land and airspace".
“Use of our land and airspace against anyone should not be allowed,” he emphasised.
A day earlier, the Foreign Office issued a clarification saying that there was no US military or airbase in Pakistan; nor was any such proposal envisaged. “Any speculation on this account was baseless and irresponsible and should be avoided,” FO Spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri said.
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Fazl told the media that the opposition alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) headed by him — meeting will be convened on May 29 and vowed to revive the anti-government alliance with “full strength”.
A consensus strategy will be formulated out after consultation with all parties, he added.
Speaking about the rift between two major parties of the PDM — PML-N and PPP — Fazl said both the parties had been told to sort out their differences. “The PPP leadership is not yet mature enough to follow the protocol of politicians.”
Serious differences emerged between the parties after the PPP appointed its stalwart Yusuf Raza Gilani as Senate’s opposition leader, apparently in violation of what had earlier been agreed upon in a PDM meeting.
Both the Awami National Party (ANP) and the PPP parted ways with the alliance last month.
He also lashed out at the PTI-led government saying that the incumbent rulers came into power through “fraud and backdoor”.
The JUI-F chief said the ruling party has destroyed the country’s economy and a “mountain of inflation” has made the lives of masses miserable.