Fazl seeks ‘guarantees’ to join opp alliance

JUI-F chief says certain steps essential to 'build trust'

News Desk May 22, 2024
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addressing a joint press conference with PTI leaders in Islamabad on Wednesday. May 22, 2024. SCREENGRAB


JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday confirmed seeking guarantees from the PTI before joining the latter’s opposition alliance, the Tehreek Tahafuz Aain-e-Pakistan (TTAP).

Fazl also raised the question as to who the opposition should negotiate with -- the premier, the president, or the army chief.

In a joint press conference with PTI leaders following their meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday night, the JUI-F chief said his party had not yet decided to join the opposition alliance, but acknowledged the ongoing efforts to persuade it to do so.

When asked by a journalist if the JUI-F had sought any guarantees from the PTI before starting an anti-government movement, Fazl replied in the affirmative.

"Yes, when serious negotiations are held, certain measures are necessary to build trust."

The JUI-F chief further asked who they should hold talks with.

“Will the prime minister, the president, or the army chief conduct the negotiations?"

Fazl condemned the attack on PTI central spokesperson Raoof Hasan, criticising police for raiding the party’s office and conducting a search there instead of arresting the attackers.

“Today, opposition [PTI] leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser visited us for goodwill, and we welcomed them,” Fazl said.

“Their stance is that meetings should be held, and bitterness should be reduced. We welcome this spirit.”

The JUI-F chief expressed his concerns, saying that the Constitution and parliament had lost their significance, adding that democracy had also lost its case.

He also criticised the ongoing military operations, noting an increase in terrorism despite long-term efforts.

“A few days ago, a drone attack targeted civilians,” he added.

“Operations are being conducted without planning. At the Chaman border, protests have been under way for six or seven months, affecting local businesses. Similarly, daily wage earners in South Waziristan’s Angoor Adda have been impacted.”

He highlighted the plight of people in Jamrud, who are demanding their livelihoods and facing restrictions without alternatives.

Also read: Imran threatens to take to streets after attack on PTI leader

"We believe our stance on common issues can be unified. If we can't eliminate differences, we can soften them," Fazl continued.

PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub expressed his gratitude to Fazl and his colleagues for their warm welcome.

“As opposition leaders, we want to continue this struggle for the Constitution under Tehreek Tahaffuz-e-Aain. This is the desire of PTI founder Imran Khan, Mahmood Achakzai and all of us,” he said.

He mentioned that the JUI-F’s rallies were under way, and the PTI’s movement for the Constitution would also hold protests across the country.

“Today, there is no such thing as the Constitution in Pakistan,” Ayub maintained.

Speaking on the occasion, PTI leader Hammad Azhar condemned the police raid on their office.

“Instead of finding Raoof Hasan’s attackers, the police are targeting an innocent person,” he said.

Azhar called for the government to reconsider the legitimate demands of the protesters in Chaman.

He criticised the sealing of the Quetta Press Club, where Mahrang Baloch was supposed to hold a press conference, saying such actions weakened the country.

“Democracy will strengthen the country, and under the current circumstances, no investment will come. We condemn the undemocratic forces at play,” he added.

PTI leader and former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser thanked Fazl for his warm reception.

“The wheat crisis in Punjab is troubling farmers, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s economy has collapsed,” Qaiser said.
He emphasised the need for all sectors to unite for the supremacy of the Constitution.

“Can an incident like the attack on Raoof Hasan happen in a country governed by the rule of law?” Qaiser asked.
“We want Maulana’s strength and courage to be used for upholding the Constitution.”

Qaiser also condemned the recent remarks against the judiciary in the Senate and declared solidarity with the judges.

In response to a question, Ayub strongly opposed the Punjab government’s defamation bill and vowed to challenge it in court.

“Imran Khan said, ‘No matter how long I am imprisoned, I will not deviate from my stance,’” Ayub concluded.


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