LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Saturday declared that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JU-F) had not been given any assurances regarding resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and dissolution of assemblies to end its Islamabad sit-in.
Commenting on the statement of JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Mr Elahi said: “No such assurances -- resignation of the prime minister or dissolution of assemblies – were given to the JUI-F (chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman) to end its Islamabad sit-in.”
Senator Haideri the other day disclosed that Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had assured the JUI-F (during the sit-in) that the premier would resign and the assemblies be dissolved. “We had ended our sit-in (on Nov 13) after getting certain assurances by some trustworthy persons and Mr Elahi had become a guarantor,” he had claimed.
Mr Elahi, however, denied that any such assurances were ever given to the JUI-F.
“We had made it clear on the very first day (of parleys with the JUI-F) that neither there will be a resignation of the premier, nor the assemblies be dissolved,” Mr Elahi said, adding the government and its coalition partners were on “the same page” to steer the country out of prevailing economic crisis.
“PML-Q is an ally of the PTI government and we have a unanimous strategy under the leadership of PM Khan,” the senior PML-Q leader said in a statement.
Mr Elahi also indirectly suggested the premier should show big-heartedness and learn to forgive his political opponents. “This is the holy month of Rabiul Awwal in which benefactor of the mankind Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had come into the world. We should learn to forgive the creatures of God by practicing his Seerat as in it lies goodness for all,” he said.
Mr Elahi further made it clear that during talks between the government and the opposition, the former was also given no guarantee that after the sit-in ended the latter would change its attitude towards it.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Nov 13 had called off the party’s 13-day-long sit-in at Islamabad apparently on the assurance of “powers that be”. Maulana Fazl later claimed the sit-in had cut the “roots of the Imran Khan government” and it would fall within months.
As the government had authorised the Chaudhrys of Gujrat – Shujaat Husain and Pervaiz Elahi – to hold talks with the Maulana and persuade him to end the sit-in. They were mandated to offer the Maulan “audit” of any constituency he named where vote was cast in the 2018 polls but no negotiations on the premier’s resignation. “On which condition we persuaded the Maulana to end the sit-in, we cannot disclose,” Mr Elahi had said.
A source told Dawn that the JUI-F leaders’ recent statements regarding assurances from some elements in the powers that be and the Chaudhry brothers showed the Maulana’s frustration. “Such assurances (resignation of the premier or dissolution of the assemblies), if promised, are not meant to be made public. Therefore, the JUI-F leaders are showing their frustration as nothing substantial they got from the sit-in and road blockades as claimed by the government,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2019