LAHORE: The Jamaat-i-Islami will pursue its own agenda as the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) platform was meant only for 2018 elections.

JI emir Senator Sirajul Haq said this while answering journalists queries at a press conference at Mansoora at the end of the three-day session of the party’s central Shoora here on Monday.

He chided the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for “not taking any step towards building a Madina-like Islamic state”, adding the masses would not tolerate it for long.

He said whether the PTI government desired it or not, the people wanted the country to be in harmony with the noble objectives for which it was established at the cost of thousands of lives.

He said Pakistan was not merely a geographical entity, it was an ideology and the government should make sincere efforts to fulfill its election promises in this respect.

Mr Haq said the JI had welcomed the PTI’s election promises and also advised it to fulfill the same honestly. However, he said, the half-year performance of the government had not only been disappointing but there had also been attempts to convert the country into a secular state.

He cited the government’s opposition to the bill seeking a liquor ban to substantiate his point.

The JI chief said the PTI used the slogan of accountability for political purposes. He added had the party been serious in this respect, the dust with regard to accountability would have settled by now and a mechanism would have been finalised for the recovery of the plundered wealth from the corrupt.

He said the JI Shoora at its meeting had approved the second phase of the party’s drive against corruption during which a “strong mass movement” to end the menace would be launched. It also demanded quick disposal of mega corruption cases.

Mr Haq said not only the masses but the rulers also were not satisfied with their performance. He said that is why the prime minister had himself hinted at early elections. He also referred to Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar’s snubs to the Punjab government in this regard.

The JI chief said that in spite of financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the economy had not improved and the value of the rupee had fallen considerably. He said the people were even worried about the future of the CPEC.

Haq said the former tribal areas had been practically abandoned by the government after their merger with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He regretted that the government had been silent about the relief package for the rehabilitation of these areas. He called for honouring the commitments made to the tribal people, including the release of the 3 percent of the NFC and Rs125 billion package.

The JI chief also demanded the government to give a time frame for the local bodies elections and to announce its strategy in this respect.

He reaffirmed JI’s support to the Kashmiris struggle for liberation and said the party would demonstrate solidarity with the Kashmir cause in the first week of February.

Published in Dawn, January 8th, 2019