Finance Minister Ishaq Dar contacted JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Saturday to seek support for his party’s presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain. “Let’s first talk about the new political arrangement in Balochistan,” Maulana Fazl said in reply and the talks deadlocked.
Until the JUI-F is given a role in the Balochistan government, there would be no support for the PML-N candidate, said a JUI-F member who did not want to be quoted. “We have also turned down the PML-N offer for joining the federal cabinet,” he added.
The JUI-F’s Balochistan chapter has serious reservations over functioning of the present political set-up in the province. The party is an important stakeholder in the province and it believes a ‘new political contract’ is needed in view of the failing political, economic and security situation in the province, said the JUI-F leader. The new contract must feature the JUI-F, he added.
“The presidential candidate issue has been put on hold. It’s about future cooperation now,” he said. “Now, the ball is in the PML-N’s court.”
Jan Achakzai, the spokesperson for Maulana Fazl, said that his party has not taken a formal decision to support Mamnoon yet. However, he confirmed that the finance minister contacted the JUI-F chief.
A meeting of JUI-F’s core committee discussed the Balochistan chapter’s reservations and decided to take up the matter with the PML-N, said Achakzai.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.