The Muttahida Qaumi Movement has formally invited the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman faction) to a proposed roundtable conference.
A three-member delegation of the MQM, comprising Farooq Sattar, Nasreen Jalil and Haider Abbas Rizvi, extended the invitation during a meeting with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday.
The JUI-F chief, however, appeared to be noncommittal. “…Our talks with the MQM will continue on the subject,” said the Maulana after the meeting.
“MQM’s fresh campaign has given us hope that we would be able to implement the recommendations of Parliament,” he added, while lamenting that such all-party conferences had produced little in the past.
The implementation of parliamentary resolutions has always been a cause of concern for the opposition in particular.
Earlier, during Yousaf Raza Gilani’s tenure as prime minister, incumbent premier Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had been appointed chairperson of a special committee of the National Assembly to oversee the implementation of parliamentary resolutions. While Premier Ashraf held the office for a few months, little progress took place.
In addition, the JUI-F chief underlined the need for a paradigm shift, saying, “We need national solidarity and this should be Pakistan’s priority instead of a foreign agenda.”
The Maulana also managed to subtly raise objections to the new contempt law, saying: “New compulsions have compelled new legislation. However, this one-sided process of legislation will perhaps not be acceptable to us.”
Addressing the media, MQM deputy convener Farooq Sattar said the meeting was an effort to implement MQM chief Altaf Hussain’s call for forging unity among political forces to save Pakistan from ‘unseen threats’.
He revealed that President Asif Ali Zardari, at the request of MQM, had already directed Prime Minister Ashraf to convene the proposed roundtable conference. Sattar added that a roadmap needed to be prepared to help with the pre- and post-election scenario.
The MQM leader said that the proposed conference would also address issues related to the economy, energy, extremism and sectarianism.
Earlier, the MQM had invited its rival Awami National Party to the roundtable which was readily accepted by the latter.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.
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