Just two days before the presidential elections, the Pakistan Muslim League decided to take its ally, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, into confidence by formally asking it to support Mamnoon Hussain, their party’s presidential candidate.
A high-powered delegation of PML-N, including Mamnoon Hussain and senators Iqbal Zaffar Jhagra, Pervaiz Rashid as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met Fazlur Rehman on Sunday to seek his party’s support in the presidential vote.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman directed a litany of complaints at the PML-N for not taking him on-board on key decisions. He said his party wanted a role in the Balochistan government.
As an ally of PML-N, Fazl said, his party should have been consulted about the prime minister’s China visit, the framing of the energy policy and even the party’s blossoming relationship with Mutahhida Qaumi Movement (MQM).
“The Nawaz League has made it a habit to not to take allies on-board before taking important decisions which would be damaging for its political goodwill,” said a spokesperson for Fazl, Jan Achakzai, quoting him. “It was the ruling party’s responsibility to take allies into confidence on all national issues,” the JUI-F chief added.
Regarding the party’s decision to support Mamnoon Hussain, Achakzai stated that the party would announce its decision on Monday. He, however, did not mention whether the PML-N had given JUI-F any assurances.
He said two allies were not bound to agree on every issue all the time. However, developing a consensus on any given matter was a democratic practice and should continue.
The JUI-F, which was expecting PML-N to contact them earlier for the presidential election, feared that the ruling party did not need them as allies anymore as no formal invitation was made and with only one day left in the ballot.
“It seems the PML-N does not need JUI-F as an ally anymore. They look comfortable in the arms of MQM,” said a JUI-F leader before the PML-N delegation’s arrival at Fazl’s parliament lodges residence.
Friday’s meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Fazl remained more focused on law and order situation in the country and presidential elections did not come up in the discussion, said the spokesperson.
He added that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar contacted the JUI-F chief on Saturday but he did not formally ask him to vote for the N-League’s candidate.
After a core committee meeting of JUI-F on Saturday, the party decided to take up with PML-N leadership their demand for a role in Balochistan’s political set-up where it said it was an important stakeholder.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.