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ISLAMABAD: Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan-Fazal (JUI-F) has startled its coalition partners by announcing that it will not support the amendments in the Constitution and the Army Act the PML-N-led government has tabled in the National Assembly to fight terrorism.

“This is an action targeting the religious-minded of a single sect. We were neither informed about the amendments nor was our input (in drafting them) taken,” declared the party chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, at a press conference here.

His statement came on the day the assembly started debating the bill amending the Army Act to allow military courts to try civilians too in terrorism cases.

JUI-F chief was also critical of linking madaris (Islamic schools) and seminaries with the spread of terrorism in the country.

Jamaat-i-Islami warns that ‘targeting’ Islam and Islamic schools will torpedo national consensus on fighting terrorism

His grievances were shared by the chief of Jamaat-i-Islami, the only other Islamic party represented in the parliament. Mr Sirajul Haq separately told a party gathering that the target of those decrying terrorism was Islam and the madaris.

Both the leaders spoke of ‘consequences’ if their fears became the truth in the guise of counterterrorism under the National Action Plan (NAP) that their parties had agreed to in the aftermath of the Peshawar carnage of schoolchildren last month.

However, Jamaat-i-Islami Emir sounded more specific. “If there is any large scale action against the madaris,” he said, Maulana Fazlur Rehman confined himself to saying that there is no distinction between terrorists. “A terrorist is a terrorist. How can one say this is religious terrorism? And what about killing in the name of ethnicity and tribes? Is that not terrorism?” he asked.

Incidentally, neither the Maulana neither his party ever hinted at any of the known terrorist groups being behind the terror attacks the JUI-F have suffered over the years.

Senior party leaders say the government’s approach to the issue is not directed to end terrorism, but to sidetrack the public sentiments from the root causes of terrorism.

“This is a flawed policy,” spokesperson and former JUI-F MNA, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed told Dawn.

“Who cut deals with Baitullah Mehsud?” he pointedly asked referring to the ferocious leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, killed in a US drone attack in August 2009.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2015

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