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Fazl asks PM to step down, demands fresh elections

Updated April 21, 2019

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Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to media on Saturday.—White Star
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks to media on Saturday.—White Star

PESHAWAR: Terming the recent reshuffle in the federal cabinet a move towards setting up a government of technocrats, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman asked Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday to step down and demanded fresh elections to pull the nation out of crisis.

“This fake government does not have the ability and skill to govern a city, how can it run the entire country?” the JUI-F chief asked while talking to the media after a meeting of the party’s central executive council.

He said that the reshuffle in the cabinet and expulsion of ministers proved that the government was given a fake mandate and that it did not enjoy the support of the masses. He said the country’s economy was already on the verge of collapse and now the country was facing a worse political crisis.

Terms cabinet reshuffle a move towards a government of technocrats

“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s only way out is to resign and conduct fresh elections,” he said, adding that an impression was created that ministers could not deliver, therefore, their portfolios had been changed. He said by giving the interior ministry to Ijaz Shah after holding the portfolio for eight months Mr Khan had admitted his failure.

He said that a set-up of technocrats had been introduced in the name of reshuffling the cabinet. He said his party had already launched a mass mobilisation movement against the government and was holding a big rally in the Khyber tribal district on Sunday. He said that the joint opposition would demand fresh election in the country.

“We would keep on our struggle unless fair and free elections are held in the country,” said the Maulana in response to a question if the fresh elections he was demanding would be free and fair. He hinted at locking down Islamabad after Ramazan.

Expressing concern over recent incidents of terrorism in Peshawar, tribal districts and Balochistan, he said despite sacrifices of thousands of personnel and innocent citizens, law and order situation was deteriorating.

He demanded formation of a judicial commission to ascertain reasons for obtaining heavy loans by the government. He said that the government was borrowing Rs15 billion every day. He said politicians were being put behind bars on charges of corruption while investigation in the multi-billion rupees Bus Rapid Transit project was stopped. He said that the KP government had refused to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate BRT.

He alleged that conspiracies were being hatched to create divisions within his party and some leaders of the JUI-F had been approached in this regard. “Leaders in my party are being pressurised to form separate groups,” he alleged.

When asked about a statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi regarding fencing of the border with Iran, the JUI-F chief said that Mr Qureshi had no control over foreign affairs. He said that Pakistan was fencing its borders with western neighbours on its own while India was also erecting fences on its border with Pakistan.

“Fencing on the western and eastern borders are very serious signals for the country,” said the Maulana, adding that “our western neighbours are openly in contact with some communities while Pakistan directly contacted Sikhs in India which is very dangerous”.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2019