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JUI-F fails to win PML-N support for Senate seat

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JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—File Photo
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Despite allout efforts, the JUI-F finds itself on a limb after its failure to gain support of the PML-N for its candidate on one of the two vacant Senate seats from Balochistan.

Sources told Dawn that the leaders of the two parties met in Islamabad on Monday to exclusively discuss the issue, but failed to reach any consensus on the candidates.

The seats had fallen vacant after resignation of Mir Lashkari Raisani and Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani. Mr Raisani, who had been elected as senator on a PPP ticket, had announced his resignation from the upper house after joining the PML-N just before the May 11 general elections while Maulana Sheerani quit the Senate after winning a seat in the National Assembly.

The PML-N’s secretary general, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, and Sardar Yaqub Nasir, one of the candidates for the Senate seat, called on JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence to seek his party’s support on one seat and for the candidate of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party on the other.

Sources in the PML-N told Dawn that Maulana Fazl was ready to support the PML-N’s candidate on one seat and wanted the ruling party to support JUI-F’s candidate on the seat vacated by Maulana Sheerani.

The PML-N leaders, the sources said, had told the JUI-F in categorical terms that the party could not do it since it had already reached an understanding with the PkMAP, its coalition partner in the Balochistan government.

According to the sources, Maulana Fazlur Rehman turned down the PML-N’s request to withdraw his party’s candidate from the race.

The sources said that it was because of the meeting with the PML-N representatives that the JUI-F chief postponed his plan to launch a “white paper” on the alleged rigging in the May 11 elections.

The JUI-F spokesman, Jan Achakzai, confirmed the meeting, but denied that there had been a deadlock between the two parties.

He expressed the hope that the parties would soon reach a consensus and claimed that another meeting would take place soon.Besides Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, Lashkari Raisani and Nawab Shah have filed nomination papers on the PML-N ticket, while the JUI-F has awarded its ticket to Engineer Fazal Karim. Rauf Lala is a PkMAP candidate.

The election will be held on July 18 and the Election Commission will announce the final list of candidates on Tuesday.

Soon after the election of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister last month, the JUI-F had unilaterally announced that it would sit on the treasury benches after finding a lack of enthusiasm in the PML-N to take it along.

Although the JUI-F is a ruling coalition partner at the centre, the PML-N has not offered any cabinet position or committed any other office to it. The JUI-F has now started criticising some of the PML-N’s policies, particularly on the security issue.

Last week, Maulana Fazlur Rehman expressed reservations and concern over the proposed anti-terror policy of the government, terming it a mere rhetoric and lacking practical measures.