LAHORE: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on Monday refused to support the government in Senate elections and said it would rather abstain from voting in the National Assembly.

According to the party’s general secretary Ameerul Azeem, Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) met him at Mansoora and requested for support in the National Assembly. The JI, however, expressed its inability to oblige.

“The provincial leadership of the JI has reached an agreement with opposition parties in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly under which the party would support the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement] candidates on general, technocrat and minority seats in exchange for support on women’s seats. But this situation is restricted to KP Assembly because such an arrangement is possible only there,” said Mr Azeem.

“For the rest of the country, the JI would support neither the PTI nor the PDM, and would only abstain,” he added.

Muhammad Ali Durrani of the GDA met Jamaat chief Sirajul Haq with a similar request, but the latter refused, reiterating his party’s position of neutrality except for the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Mr Durrani was also told that the JI could not have such a ‘vote-exchange bargain’ either in the National Assembly or in the Sindh Assembly.

Meanwhile, in a statement Mr Haq said that runaway inflation had shaken people to the core, leaving them struggling for survival.

“The [PTI] government has done nothing to give relief, except for verbal promises. The JI has launched a protest campaign against price hike and it would hold rallies in Faisalabad on March 12 and in Multan on 21st,” the JI emir said.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

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