JUI-F chief won’t be able to exploit ‘religious card’: PM


A PTI leader says Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed no fear of JUI-F's upcoming long march. — Photo courtesy: PM Imran's official Instagram account
A PTI leader says Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed no fear of JUI-F's upcoming long march. — Photo courtesy: PM Imran's official Instagram account

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman would not be able to exploit "religious card" against the government at the behest of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N).

Talking to a select group of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders who are frequently seen in TV talk shows, the prime minister expressed no fear of the JUI-F’s call for Islamabad lockdown on Oct 27.

“The prime minister was of the view that PPP and PML-N are pretending that they are not taking part in the lockdown programme, but in fact both parties are backing him [Maulana Fazl] and providing him money to meet their own designs,” a close aide to PM Khan told Dawn after the meeting.

Imran vows to revive Steel Mills and make it profitable entity

According to him, the prime minister lamented that Maulana Fazl was using innocent children of Madressahs (seminaries) against the government, but he [JUI-F chief] should realise that after the victory of the government’s stance on the Kashmir issue in the recently held United Nations General Assembly session, he would not be able to exploit the “religious card”.

The PM’s aide quoted Mr Khan as saying: “The government believes that students of seminaries are our own children, but they are being misguided by people like Fazlur Rehman.”

According to him, the prime minister said the PPP and PML-N were not directly joining the lockdown move because if it failed they would not be blamed, but the JUI-F. He said the meeting agreed that Maulana Fazl had received a heavy amount of money from both PPP and PML-N to fulfil their agendas against the government.

Talking about news of a possible deal between the government and the opposition, the prime minister reiterated that no concession would be given to those who had plundered national wealth. “Khan Sahib will never go for any deal with former rulers,” the PM’s aide said.

The prime minister apprised the meeting of his forthcoming visit to China on Oct 7-8, which will mainly focus on the revival of stalled projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Steel Mills revival

Blaming former rulers for what he called destruction of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM), Prime Minister Khan vowed to revive the country’s biggest industrial unit and make it a profitable entity.

Presiding over a meeting on the PSM, the prime minister said leading firms of China and Russia had shown their interest in revival of the mill and various options were under consideration in this regard. “Different options are being considered for the revival of Steel Mills,” he said.

Mr Khan said the PSM had become a liability for the government because of ignorance and negligence of the previous regimes. “It is a cruelty on the part of previous rulers that Steel Mills became a burden on the national exchequer,” he added.

“It is the top most priority of the government to revive Pakistan Steel Mills so that it can become a profitable entity and play its effective role in the progress of the country,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2019