PTI march on Islamabad has no significance: Fazlur Rehman

Published May 23, 2022
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Sunday. — White Star
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman addresses a press conference in Peshawar on Sunday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said here on Sunday that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s march towards Islamabad had no significance and people would not support agitation.

Responding to a question at a function, Maulana Rehman, who also heads Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a multi-party alliance of the coalition partners in the centre, said that media had created hype about the so-called march.

“They (supporters of PTI) will come to Islamabad only for wasting time and I request media not to give importance to the march,” he replied when asked about the PTI’s “Azadi March” on Islamabad. He was confident that PTI did not break record of the JUI-F march held in October 2019.

The JUI-F chief aid that the coalition government would complete its constitutional tenure. He said that former prime minister Imran Khan had been staying at “Kor” (house) in Peshawar for the last few days. Imran had been reportedly staying at the Chief Minister’s House.

PML-N urges people to ignore protest call in larger national interest

Replying to another question, Maulana Rehman said that the country had practically turned bankrupted because of the economic and political policies of the previous ‘incompetent’ government. He said that mess created during the last four years could not be removed within one month. The future government would bear consequences of the previous government, he added.

Mr Rehman appealed people to support policies of the coalition government. He said that political parties and institutions should be on the same page to pull the country out of economic, political and social crises at that critical juncture.

Earlier addressing a joint jirga of traders and elders from tribal districts, he said that he opposed the merger of erstwhile Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and suggested referendum in the region.

He said that despite coalition partner in the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he fully opposed the merger plan and insisted referendum at that time. He said that an overwhelming majority of the merged districts would reject merger if the government held referendum.

Mr Rehman said that issues of the people of former Fata multiplied after the merger. He said that the then government should not abruptly change status of the merged districts. He said that four out of 19 MNAs of former Fata supported the merger plan. He claimed that those four MNAs were forced to support the merger bill in the parliament.

“You need to seek opinion of the tribal people through a referendum while changing geography, century-old lifestyle, administrative and legal status of the people of that particular area,” he said.

The JUI-F chief said that government before the merger had promised allocation of Rs100 billion annually for the development of the merged districts. Unfortunately, he said, merged districts were presently receiving Rs50 to Rs60 billion annually.

He said that the funds were being utilised in specific areas like construction of forts, roads and other projects to show the foreign donors that merged areas were on the path of progress. He said that the projects did not benefit common man in the merged districts. In fact, he said, no administrative setup existed in the merged districts. He added that government should have introduced major administrative and judicial reforms including land settlement before merger of the areas with the province. Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has described the announcement of long march by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan as extremely dangerous for the future of the country and urged the people to ignore the protest call in the larger national interest.

Talking to media persons here on Sunday, PML-N provincial spokesman MPA Ikhtiar Wali Khan claimed that the PTI chief had nothing to do with the national interest, as he wanted to set everything on fire for his personal satisfaction.

He alleged that actions and announcements by the former premier had proved that he could not be called a normal person. He said that at present the country was passing through a serious financial crisis due to flawed policies of the former government of PTI.

The long march, he claimed, would bring the PTI’s politics to an end, saying that such ‘negative’ activities were in no one’s interest.

The PML-N spokesman said that the federal government was fully committed to bringing the country out of the financial crisis and it would continue its efforts for the purpose. However, he said that it was time the entire nation should foil the long march to protect the country’s interests.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2022

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