ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman urged diplomatic realpolitik for Pakistan, while at the same time calling for a “tit-for-tat” response against the US, in a press conference here on Friday.
Rehman was critical of US policy and actions in all respects. American policies, Rehman said, reflect contradictions. “On one hand they are trying to hold negotiations with the Afghan Taliban while on the other hand they are putting pressure on Pakistan to go after the Haqqani network.”
Rehman said Pakistan should use the ‘Taliban card’ carefully and not make any hasty decisions. He added that the US has cards of its own and can use them against Pakistan. “The US, at any time, can raise the issue of Quetta Shura,” he warned, referring to Afghan Taliban militants presumably based in the Balochistan provincial capital.
“The possibility is there that the US brings a resolution in the UN against Pakistan’s nuclear programme or declares it a terrorist country,” he said, adding that the US wants to destabilise Pakistan. Rehman also urged Islamabad to expedite efforts on the diplomatic front to ensure any possible US resolution against Pakistan in the UN is vetoed by China and Russia.
Rehman also claimed long-standing links between the Haqqanis and the Taliban. “Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani was part of the Taliban from the day one and we gave them nomenclature of the Haqqani network”, Rehman said. He made a further dig at the US, claiming their current stance was merely a way of drawing attention away from their defeat in Afghanistan.
The JUI-F chief also criticised the US for continuing drone attacks on the innocent people of Waziristan over several years. He said that this was right time for the political and military leadership to bring harmony among their ranks and give a tit-for-tat response to the US.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2011.