Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses opposition activists outside the ECP Karachi office on Friday.—White Star
Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses opposition activists outside the ECP Karachi office on Friday.—White Star

KARACHI: Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Friday warned that the Election Commission of Pakistan would lose its credibility if it failed to decide the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

He reiterated his demand that “fair and transparent” elections be held as early as possible since it was the only solution to the recent crisis in the country.

Addressing a protest demonstration in front of the ECP office here, Maulana Fazl was seen to stand firm on his demand of removing the PTI government and announcement of early elections, calling it a consensus decision of all opposition parties which had recently met in Islamabad.

He said the protest in Karachi was also part of the same strategy devised by the opposition parties, which decided to organise joint protest rallies and public meetings at district level throughout the country as part of their ongoing anti-government campaign.

“After a series of blunders, this incompetent government has now made the appointment on the most important and sensitive post in the country [chief of the army staff] a joke,” he said referring to the recent order of the Supreme Court that suspended the federal government’s Aug 19 notification for extension/reappointment of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three-year term after completion of his tenure on Nov 28.

The JUI-F along with other opposition parties holds a demonstration outside the election commission’s office

A breather for the federal government, however, came after three days of heightened uncertainty when the Supreme Court allowed extension/reappointment of Gen Bajwa for another six months.

“The Supreme Court has ordered [the government] for all relevant legislation within six months in this regard. But my question is to the people of Pakistan that how can we allow this bunch of incompetent people [to make] any law on this important and sensitive subject?” thundered the JUI-F supremo.

“The need of early general election has become more important following the recent episodes,” he added.

He also urged the ECP to “meet the challenge and fulfil its responsibility” by completing the inquiry into the foreign funding case, which he said could set the future course of democracy and “throw out” incompetent and “unclean” people from mainstream politics.

“And let’s submit with all respect and regard that if the Election Commission fails to complete its job [investigation into the foreign funding case], the people of Pakistan would lose their trust in one of the most key institutions of the country and it would lose all its credibility. It’s not the demand of any individual or any party but it’s the need of the hour to expose those elements that got illegal foreign funding to toe a certain agenda,” he added.

He said that his party wanted no relief for any individual but for each and every countryman, but this government could not provide it and that’s why he wanted them to pack up.

The protest was also addressed by local leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan-Noorani and others.

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2019