JUI-F quits in the centre: Slim coalition loses more weight

Published: December 15, 2010
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The JUI-F chief has also rescinded its support for the reformed GST bill. PHOTO: AFP

The JUI-F chief has also rescinded its support for the reformed GST bill. PHOTO: AFP

The JUI-F chief has also rescinded its support for the reformed GST bill. PHOTO: AFP Hamid Saeed Kazmi was dismissed as Religious Affairs Minister by Prime Minister Gilani. PHOTO: EPA
ISLAMABAD: 

Already confronted with a number of pressing issues, the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) government on Tuesday suffered a serious setback as coalition partner Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) pulled out from the federal alliance.

The JUI-F’s decision follows Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s orders to sack Senator Azam Swati, the wealthiest member of the JUI-F. Swati was embroiled in a public war of words with Religious Minister Hamid Kazmi, who is faced with allegations of corruption in Hajj arrangements. Kazmi was also sacked along with Swati.

However, the JUI-F took umbrage to Swati’s sacking. The party has seven seats in the National Assembly and over a dozen members in the Senate.

The announcement is being considered whimsical, but if JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman keeps his word, it could have serious consequences for the PPP. With support from the JUI-F, the PPP has  a simple majority in the Senate and losing that support could weaken its position regarding the passage of legislation in the National Assembly. What adds to the government’s worries is that the Reformed General Sales Tax (RGST) bill is yet to be approved, which the government must ensure in order to convince the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to send its next tranche.

Although the government has vowed to once again cajole Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the cleric says: “It is all over now … this time the decision is final.”

The internal bickering in the federal cabinet, which started over the Hajj scam, culminated in the sacking of the two warring ministers: Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who belongs to the PPP, and Federal Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati.

In protest, JUI-F submitted the resignations of two more cabinet members to the prime minister: Housing Minister Rehmatullah Kakar and Tourism Minister Maulana Attaur Rehman. However, the party decided that it will retain the chairmanship of parliamentary committees, including the committee on Kashmir affairs, which is headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Reshuffle in cabinet and bureaucracy

Earlier in the day, the government announced that Prime Minister Gilani has removed Swati and Kazmi from their portfolios.

Kazmi has been replaced by Syed Khursheed Shah, who will also continue to hold the position of the labour and manpower minister. Swati has been replaced by Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali, who will also retain his duties as minister for education.

Makhdoom Shahabuddin has been appointed the minister for defence production and has also been given additional charge of health minister.

Meanwhile, ministry of religious affairs secretary Agha Sarwar Raza Qazilbash has been asked to report to the establishment division. Overseas Pakistanis division secretary Saeed Khan has been appointed in Qazilbash’s place.

Freezing of accounts and ECL

After these notifications, the government also announced that it will freeze the accounts of Kazmi and Qazilbash, as well as the deputy secretary of the religious affairs ministry and the Hajj director-general. Their names will also be added to the Exit Control List.

PML-Q the potential ally

In case JUI-F sticks to its decision and PPP’s differences with the MQM are not sorted out, the PPP would be in dire need to either opt for interim elections or forge an alliance with another major group in the parliament: potentially the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q). The PPP is already in covert and overt contact with the PML-Q.

Although divided into groups, the PML-Q has more than 50 seats in the National Assembly and around 20 in the Senate – more than the combined strength of the JUI-F and the MQM in the parliament. This makes PML-Q a feasible, but not easy, option for the PPP to form an alliance with.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (61)

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 1:06PM

    Whole Cabinet should Resign. they have break all the Records of Corruption. Recommend

  • Farooq
    Dec 14, 2010 - 1:13PM

    OK, But what is the fault of Swati? Is that he is from JUI?
    Not a correct thing by PM and PPP Govt.Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 1:24PM

    Welldone Mr. Prime Minister . After the 18th Amendment you have now shown your tue power to your nation. Please fire the rest of the corrupt in your cabinet and take the blessings of your fellow country men !!Recommend

  • Hasan Naqvi
    Dec 14, 2010 - 1:36PM

    only dismissed??? send them to jail………..Recommend

  • Analyser
    Dec 14, 2010 - 1:38PM

    Well done, SC 1 – 0 Govt. Now if only the SC allocates more time and effort to stem the flow of corruption at present (proactive) rather than dwelling on what happened 10-20 years ago (reactive). Nation is already shouldering the weight of past corruption, and to ease its suffering the ongoing corrupt acts must be stopped. This way the corrupt elements in govt will be compelled to limit their evil tendencies. Recommend

  • Adnan
    Dec 14, 2010 - 1:41PM

    Fallacious & misleading…
    Minister of Science & Technology had nothing to do with the Hajj Scam. That falls under the purview of Ministry of Religious Affairs. Why is ET roping in Azam Swati in this? Simply because he represents JUI-F? PatheticRecommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 1:56PM

    @Hasan
    Where you live Hasan? Big Fish never goes to jail.Recommend

  • Shahid Ashraf
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:03PM

    Hasan Naqvi… let the charges be proven and let the courts give their verdict!! Don’t be too hastened!! It’s a big break through and I think almost unprecedented in Pakistan that two federal ministers (one from the ruling party) have been dismissed on corruption charges!!! We must appreciate this good change.Recommend

  • Hello
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:03PM

    2 down…58 to go PM needs to work overtime here…Recommend

  • Ahsanullah Mehsud
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:09PM

    why Azam Sawati ? For telling the corruption sagas of PPP MNAs ?Recommend

  • Rizwan Anwar
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:23PM

    This would be the result if any one dares to point out any irregularities of the government in future. A good living example of good governence by the PPP led government. It should serve as a eye-opener for everyone as to how the problem is to be solved– a la muti pao style.Recommend

  • Amer
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:34PM

    Why in the world is Swati dismissed? Just because he showed the evidence against the culprits or because he screamed of corruption in the government? This is Pathetic to say the least. Recommend

  • Ali Rehman
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:37PM

    swati and kazmi are mere scapegoats!Recommend

  • MAD
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:39PM

    Azam Swati has been removed for telling the truth.Recommend

  • SA
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:48PM

    I fail to understand though, what a minister for Science and Technology has to do with Hajj scam!! Recommend

  • Asrar Ahmed
    Dec 14, 2010 - 2:56PM

    Now JUI-F will not support RGST unless one more minister from their party has been appointed.

    Mr PM, we are being made laughing stock of the world. The country lacks leadership,we are drifting…..Do something or as it happens in civilised world..quit.Recommend

  • NaK
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:04PM

    At least they pay their lawyer fee them self now, because till today Government was paying their fees (Rs. 5 million to Khossa Associate ) from Government Pocket.Recommend

  • MTL
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:12PM

    Its a good start.SC should recover all the monies from all the personnel involved in this dirty act and refund to all the effected Hajj Pilgrims Recommend

  • Ammar
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:12PM

    How about the oath taken by Federal Minister in TV show hosted by ‘Javeed Choudhry’, was that Drama by Minister? If so, he would be liable in front of Allah.Recommend

  • MBilal
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:16PM

    A last ditch effort perhaps by PM to save him and his government from additional defame which has already crossed the optimum level. Lets see if CJ and media can pressurize govt. to do the same in cases of rental power plants. Long way to go though.Recommend

  • sadia
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:25PM

    I was just recalling yesterday story of Mr Rauf Klasra who had filed that President Zardari had stopped PM from sacking Kazmi. Tribune should be appreciated for warning us what was cooking inside power corridors over the issue of Hajj scam. Express Tribune is just taking lead in breaking stories. Great work !! Recommend

  • Atique Shaikh
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:30PM

    good , more federal minister be dismiss to stop corruption in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:32PM

    Everyone is perplexed about the dismissal of Azam Swati!! Anyway it is the PM’s prerogative. Finally one minister has been fired and I sincerely hope more will follow suit. Hope that Chief Justice makes an example out of the crooked and corrupt involved in Haj scam. Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 3:33PM

    i don’t understand why PM dismiss Swati , which are detail about Swati saab..Recommend

  • Amer
    Dec 14, 2010 - 3:53PM

    I had said it then and I will say it again. The oath that Mr. Kazmi took on tv saying that he was innocent was very dramatic. But he is reliable in front of Allah Subhanahu Wataalla. If he lied then he would be punished very severly since he’s used the name of the Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Mr. Kazmi has to prove his innocence in the courts and fight this now & Mr. Swati has to do the same. Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 4:21PM

    It is sad that PM is not taking the resignation from him even the accused person said by his only toung that is is on guilty but………………… phir bolte han k hum curruption nahe karty Recommend

  • GH
    Dec 14, 2010 - 5:22PM

    An Income Tax Bookkeeper becomes the Federal Minister.
    “An Ordinary Man, Can become THE KING in Pakistan”.
    Those Who says Pakistan Politics is all about Elite Class should learn some lessons from Mr Kazmi.Recommend

  • Adnan
    Dec 14, 2010 - 5:40PM

    Misleading…
    An excerpt from the above report:
    “Federal Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati and Religious Affairs Minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi were dismissed earlier today (Tuesday) in connection to the Hajj corruption case.”
    How is Minister of Science & Technology responsbile for Hajj Scam? Is he responsible since he chose to stand-up against mis-management and corruption in Ministry of Religious Affairs? Express Tribune should be honest with itself and its readers. PATHETICRecommend

  • CJ
    Dec 14, 2010 - 5:58PM

    MQM will now roar on Zulfiqar Mirza behind close doors, thanks to this act of maulana mqm rates will get increased if PML(Q) do not come to PPPP rescueRecommend

  • Yasir
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:09PM

    How is Minister of Science &
    Technology responsbile for Hajj Scam?

    It’s a question of cabinet discipline. A minister can not break ranks with PM.Recommend

  • Illidan
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:23PM

    Doomed!Recommend

  • Waqar
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:24PM

    See it as another conspiracy by RAW…Recommend

  • Asif
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:25PM

    @Waqar

    Indeed, these fringe elements(RAW,CBI) are everywhere, all over Pakistan…
    For all you know, they might be monitoring this thread as well!Recommend

  • Hafiz shah Ali
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:31PM

    This drama was expected.

    Prediction (1): In next 7 days, JUI-F will make up.They will also be promised Ministry of Religious Affairs

    Prediction (2): PML (Q) will starting making positive moves and they will start being nice to Government with a hope to join government and federal cabinet.

    Prediction (3): Azam Swati will be offered Ambassadorship or new Ministry

    The drama will go on.Poor people will keep on suffering.Recommend

  • MN
    Dec 14, 2010 - 6:35PM

    @All: Swati was simply dismissed for violating directives of the PM. Which is fair since he won’t hold his guns. Finally some steps to dignify the institution of Premiership!

    Way to go Gillani!Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 6:59PM

    Time is the best judge the decision of JUI will remain a major blow to PPP in his long term reign, the triaca government will face some major vacume in his alleged government i m talking about MQM party’s elemination from this government.Well next 2 weeks will decide either PPP government remain in centre or not…Recommend

  • YMan
    Dec 14, 2010 - 7:11PM

    The SC has yet to give a final verdict regarding Minister Kazmi’s involvement. If in fact he is innocent his removal from the ministry would have been pointless as well, because the govt would have removed a good and honest man from a position where he could have learned, adapted and possibly have been effective in curing the ministry of elements of corrruption in the future. Azam Swati claimed to have hard proof in support of these allegations, but “I heard it from the Secretary” can hardly be called substantial evidence.Recommend

  • RhyMe
    Dec 14, 2010 - 7:11PM

    Chelo one party stepped down,whose next in the row?….PMLN?….nah nah impossible!Recommend

  • Maryam
    Dec 14, 2010 - 7:18PM

    thank GOD… finally MAULANA took a sane decision but why he didn’t resign from chairmanship?? :PRecommend

  • Bilal
    Dec 14, 2010 - 7:32PM

    Azam Swati dismissed, a bad news. Now Govt. will have to induct a few more minister from JUI-F. JUI-F in Government is like a fish in water.Recommend

  • Asif Maalik
    Dec 14, 2010 - 7:54PM

    Not only two ministers but around fifty percent ministers be kick out to minimize the huge cabinet size of the government of a poor country and it is also a requisite as per the 18th amendment demands And if it is done so the government will be able to save huge expenditure in millions that were being wasted by unworthy ministries. Recommend

  • Mohammed Abbasi
    Dec 14, 2010 - 8:17PM

    Hate supporting mullah parties but i think Swati was completely innocent of this chargeRecommend

  • Asrar Ahmed
    Dec 14, 2010 - 8:22PM

    The PM will reverse the decision on Azam Swati

    Late night meetings and sweating will take place.

    Let us wait MQM does…..Recommend

  • Shahid Shah
    Dec 14, 2010 - 8:32PM

    JUI-F is throwing tantrums for the sake of more concessions. I bet the next step will be that the PPP will send an emissary to Mulana or Zaradari will call him to appease the coalition partner. There will be some back-end deal to keep them in the coalition and at the end of the day Pakistani tax payers will pay to keep this sham going….Recommend

  • Majid Maqsood
    Dec 14, 2010 - 8:45PM

    Its not justify to break a way coalition because PM has discretionary powers to sake or suspend any Minister, so there is nothing wrong in sacking of Ministries but issue seems difference between beliefs. Mullana never took stand on amendment bill of blasphemy RGST and drone attacks but he has gone away on his personal interest. He is in fact looking for getting the Ministry of religious affairs.
    Objection of Kazmi sb is something surprising that he blames on judges that Judges belong to else belief and they are going to be party against him, and this is something so dangerous for country, we direly need of harmony within different sects but such blames on judges can make things worse.
    May Allah bless this country! Recommend

  • hus sain
    Dec 14, 2010 - 8:50PM

    more diesel permits?Recommend

  • Muneeb
    Dec 14, 2010 - 9:27PM

    Prime minister makes him “qurbani ka bakra” for save his son. Supreme Court did well as usually.supreme court has to complete its investigation and unveil all stupids.Recommend

  • Dec 14, 2010 - 10:02PM

    Another tactic by shrewd Mullah to pressurise govenment and to submit a new “wish list” to government. Well, I think he will stay in the coalition. Parting his ways with government will always depend on the “signals” he gets from his “friends” from the deep state.Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Dec 14, 2010 - 11:09PM

    Mualanas of JUI(F) are not going to stay away from corridors of power too long, and President Zardari is a master to settle such issues. Within few days Maulanas will be in cabinet enjoying perks, perhaps with one more ministery.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 14, 2010 - 11:27PM

    He’s be back in a few days.. diesel.Recommend

  • M. Patel
    Dec 15, 2010 - 12:21AM

    The ministers were dismissed for fighting in public and not for corruption. Both ministers were asked by Gilani some time back not to give statements against each other in public. Gilani also at that time warned that if these guys did not obey his order he will fire both of them. But both continued with giving statement against each other, so for once Gilani did what he said he will do.. Why everyone is so cooked up. It is good news for people. Maybe save some tax payers money or borrow little less from the world to feed the Sharks who run the country.Recommend

  • MS Hasan
    Dec 15, 2010 - 12:46AM

    its only that S.A got involved in Haj affairs, that made two ministers to resign. credit only goes to free media which highlighted the issue. in any other civilized country govt wud hv resigned in such circumstances………WTFRecommend

  • Dec 15, 2010 - 12:48AM

    Maulana Fazl will join government in few days because he is only doing this for more political gains, once he get what he wanted  he will rejoin the coalition.Corruption is destroying our country,it should be eradicate as soon as possible if we want to make progress ?   Recommend

  • Dec 15, 2010 - 1:23AM

    This is good. One by one all coalition partners should leave the govt. PPP would try to include Q but we cant say if Chaudhries would join hands.Recommend

  • NOor
    Dec 15, 2010 - 1:36AM

    Good decision by both, the PM as well the JUI.

    The JUI shall also stop contesting elections from now on, in the interest of the nationRecommend

  • Akhtar
    Dec 15, 2010 - 2:41AM

    Nothing can run without diesel so he will be back well done bargaining badshahRecommend

  • Amna
    Dec 15, 2010 - 4:35AM

    Maulana Fazl ur Rehman should do us all a favor and break away from politics. Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajani
    Dec 15, 2010 - 7:37AM

    Looking at the past record, JUI-F in next 10 days will reverse it’s decision.
    BUT part of the deal will be they will get Ministry of Religious Affairs.

    In reality,looking at nearly daily news of mega corruption, the PM should resign as he has proved to be incompetent and a bad leader.

    Bilawal Bhutto should come back to Pakistan and clean up the mess in PM and Pres houseRecommend

  • Dr.Razi Uddin Khan
    Dec 15, 2010 - 8:25AM

    With Moulana saab,it has always been politics of short term personnel and party gains and bargains,with every ruling bunch!! Hr never gives a thought when issues of public interest are matter of concern.So keeping upto tradition,removal of his party men from ministries became reason for him and his party to disassociate from coalition..but he never give a thought about parting ways, when so many innocent civilians were being killed by drone attacks by foreign invaders,and in the province of his origin…Recommend

  • Muhammad Bilal
    Dec 15, 2010 - 9:30AM

    The loss of JUI Minister Attaur Rehman (Tourism) who also resigned in protest will be greatly felt.Recommend

  • aalia
    Dec 15, 2010 - 10:27AM

    If you even remotely, passively and narrowly monitor the Pakistani politics, then you are sure to know that there are some ever-green lotas lurking in there. For these turn coats, rule is what is water is for fish.
    When one has to see the practical truth behind the saying that for the democratic system to succeed, education is needed, then the rationale of democratic failure in Pakistan can be found. Molana perhaps failed to calculate situation precisely, his departure from coalition government is neither going to effect coalition nor going to destabilized government. Soon he will realize that he was trapped by the establishment but perhaps it will be too late. Recommend

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