Fazl urges govt to step down, hold fresh polls

JUI-F chief insists army should stay away from polls

News Desk May 15, 2024
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. PHOTO: FILE


Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), demanded on Wednesday that the government resign and hold new elections in Pakistan, stressing that the military should play no role in the electoral process.

Addressing a press conference in Multan, Fazl vehemently criticized the current governance system, asserting that it was unacceptable for parliament, the supreme body according to the Constitution, to be relegated to a subordinate position. He called upon the public to stand up for the protection of their democratic rights.

“If we truly believe in democracy and have sworn allegiance to the Constitution, then the Constitution must be upheld, and constitutional institutions respected,” the JUI-F chief said. “It is impossible for the establishment to remain subordinate while simultaneously governing,” he added.

According to Fazlur Rehman, the current administration does not represent a legitimate government but rather a select few enjoying positions of power. “We demand fresh elections. The government must step down, and the military should refrain from interfering in the electoral process,” he emphasized in response to inquiries.

He further alleged that the 2024 elections lacked credibility, describing them as not true democratic exercises but rather instances marred by widespread corruption and the sale of assembly seats. “Our stance is unequivocal; we aim to rectify the situation and address the underlying issues,” he asserted.

When questioned about the possibility of reconciliation with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the JUI-F chief emphasized the importance of standing firm on one's principles, stating, “While reconciliation is a noble concept, when your own allies forsake you, it becomes imperative to uphold your stance.” He further asserted, “Our resolve remains unwavering, buoyed by the steadfast support of the nation.”

Also read: I will criticise institutions if they ‘meddle’ in politics: Fazl

Responding to questions about any purported offers of presidency during elections, he underscored his commitment to principled politics, affirming, “I do not subscribe to politics based on offers. It would go against my beliefs to engage in such practices.” Emphasizing the importance of democratic process, he added, “I firmly believe that positions such as president, prime minister, or chief minister are earned through the will of the people. If elected, it is my constitutional and legal right to assume such roles. Doing politics driven solely by personal ambition is not my principle.”

“My politics is rooted in the people's mandate. With five seats or fifty, it is the electorate's decision that determines leadership, not arbitrary claims.”

Addressing various local concerns, Fazl expressed solidarity with farmers, particularly those from Punjab, who were grappling with the aftermath of unharvested wheat crops due to government procurement delays, resulting in significant financial losses.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the farmers through their hardships,” he affirmed. “The plight of our farmers is distressing. Why, despite a surplus of 4.5 million tonnes of wheat in storage, did the government resort to importing an equivalent amount? Who will be held accountable for this oversight?” he demanded.

Turning to the protests against price hikes and inflation in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Fazl decried the government's mishandling of the situation. “Our initial aim was Srinagar, yet Muzaffarabad’s turmoil is evidence of our faltering politics,” he lamented.

In a scathing critique of the government's foreign policy, Fazl questioned the handling of key alliances, particularly with China, citing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “We entered into significant agreements with China, only to respond poorly to our commitments,” he remarked. “Today, crucial infrastructural projects are at a standstill.”

Highlighting Pakistan's strained relations with Afghanistan, Fazl warned of the geopolitical repercussions, foreseeing China establishing direct links with Afghanistan via the Wakhan corridor to reach Chabahar in Iran through Helmand, bypassing Pakistan entirely. “Despite two decades of support for the Taliban, we risk squandering our strategic advantages,” he cautioned.

“We only have the fighting ability,” Fazl said. “We have neglected the aspects of the national development because our authoritative body is a fighting body. Those who are trained to fight the enemy can never lead you politically and economically.”



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