Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday called for a ceasefire so talks can be initiated with the Taliban through a tribal jirga.
Addressing a protest rally against the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government’s seven-month performance, the JUI-F chief said a tribal jirga, backed by his party, could begin negotiations with the Taliban.
Maulana Fazl said those who were fighting for Islam or any other cause must be integrated into the national mainstream. “This nation wants peace and bloodshed must be stopped immediately,” he said, adding that religious scholars have agreed that peaceful struggle within the ambit of the law must be encouraged.
The JUI-F chief said the state was slowly losing its power and needed one of the two options – a military operation or negotiations. The experience of the last 11 years proves that the use of force does not curb terrorism, but instead, allows it to change form and become more complex, according to Maulana Fazl.
He suggested that a timeframe must be devised to carry out talks and, in the event that the federal government is unable to carry out talks within this period, a jirga constituted by the JUI-F would step forward.
He was critical of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, saying it was unable to even protect Peshawar. The JUI-F leader accused the PTI of sabotaging a national consensus by going solo on the issue of Nato supplies – the PTI-led government is not interested in clamping down on Nato supplies, but is focused instead on damaging a national consensus on the issue, he argued. NGOs indirectly ruled the province through the PTI, he said, adding that the provincial government was a product of election rigging.
Fazl also criticised the PTI’s Local Government Act 2014, saying it was a developed form of former president Pervez Musharraf’s local bodies system. “Other provinces were not ready to retain General Musharraf’s local bodies system, but the PTI has implemented it in a modified form in K-P,” he said.
Fazl said the new local government law was a recipe to cement NGOs power in the province, saying these organisations would now dominate village and neighbourhood councils set up under the LG law.
He criticised the PTI government as a representative of the West, saying the province’s Islamic identity was being eroded slowly. While there had been no extortion in Peshawar before the PTI took over, the situation was now aggravated by a void created by the PTI government, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2014.