MARDAN: A top cleric-politician, whose party is a part of the PPP-led ruling coalition in Balochistan, has predicted that politico-religious parties will ‘surprise’ everyone in the general elections slated for 2013. He has also precluded any alliance with the mainstream political parties, particularly PPP and PML-N, in the future.
“The incumbent rulers cannot make bold decisions, and neither can they change the country’s foreign policy because both PPP and PML-N cannot stand up to the United States,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, told a public gathering in Mardan on Sunday.
He promised that, if voted into power, his party would change the ‘pro-America foreign policy’ of the country.
The JUI-F chief said Pakistan was faced with a number of crises and only a sincere leadership could steer the country out.
Most of the cleric’s speech was his textbook rant against the US and its war in neighbouring Afghanistan. “The US and its Nato allies have failed to win the hearts of people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They’re now facing a defeat in the Pakhtun belt,” he claimed.
Maulana Fazl also called on the government to make public all agreements signed with Washington since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. “If the government did not disclose the secret accords, Pakistan will never be able to ‘say goodbye to the US’,” he added.
In December last year, the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was informed that Pakistan has signed nine agreements with the US to supplement the global war against terror.
“Over 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in this war which has cost the country over $70billion,” said the Maulana, who is the most vocal opponent of the US-led war. He added that Pakistan has got nothing but death and destruction in this war.
In an attempt to distance his party from the Taliban, the JUI-F chief said that they’re opposed to an armed struggle for the enforcement of Islamic sharia in the country.
“We condemn the destruction of schools – but other people (secularists) should also condemn terrorism perpetuated by the US and its Nato allies in Afghanistan where they’re killing innocent Afghan youths,” he said.
JUI-F Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Vice President Mulana Gul Naseeb, Maulana Amanaullah Haqqani and MNA Maulana Qasim also addressed the gathering.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2012.