SAHIWAL: While calling PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s return to power “out of question”, JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday raised questions over holding elections in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a time when they remain gripped by intense winter.
“It is out of the question that Imran, who is a product of a fake and bogus election, will return to power again,” Mr Rehman said.
He was talking to the media after attending a training convention as a chief guest at Jamia Uloom-i-Sharia.
According to the JUI-F emir, neither he nor anyone else from his party “wished for Imran Khan’s disqualification”.
Claims Imran’s return to power ‘out of question’
“He has been disqualified because of his performance; his disqualification is a direct result of his own rule, governance and policies.”
He added that many in PTI are booked in several cases and will have to clear their names from cases pending in courts if they wished to contest the elections.
Regarding the polls, the JUI-F chief said it was not possible to hold general elections in KP and Balochistan in January.
“In January, weather would be harsh in Chitral, Khuzdar, and other parts of KP and Balochistan,” he said, adding that despite concerns, his party won’t demand any delay in polls.
The JUI-F is ready to contest elections whenever the Election Commission announces a date, he said.
Answering a question about the prolonged rule of the caretaker government, the JUI-F emir said he was “completely against the philosophy of the caretaker government”.
“I don’t recognise the caretaker government because in [this] government, ‘caretakers’ are someone else,” he said in an apparent reference to the establishment.
Mr Rehman said Pakistan was lacking peace and financial and constitutional stability.
Regarding the future of PDM, Mr Rehman said it has become “ineffective as a political platform” almost two years after its formation.
Earlier, leaders of PML-N and JUI-F — the two major parties in the coalition which remained in power for almost 16 months — had hinted that the alliance was never formed to contest elections jointly.
On the question of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s return, the JUI-F emir said his party was “solely responsible” for making a strategy for his welcome and return.
“I talked to many senior leaders in PML-N and they all say one thing — Nawaz Sharif is coming back. We must all welcome him.”
While criticising PTI, Mr Rehman blamed the party and his chief for the economic crisis.
He claimed that when former prime minister Imran Khan was removed through a vote of no confidence, total foreign exchange reserves were $2 billion, but the PDM government took them to $11bn and repaid $6bn debt.
According to the State Bank data, when Mr Khan was ousted on April 8, 2022, the total reserves were $17bn and $13.3bn on Aug 11, 2023, three days after the PDM government dissolved the National Assembly.
“It is Imran Khan who is responsible for the economic, judicial and governance crises,” Mr Rehman said.
He warned that Pakistan would face international isolation as Arab countries would not extend any financial support if Mr Khan’s return is being talked about. Commenting on recent terrorist attacks in Mastung and Hangu, he said a wrong message was going to the world at the wrong time.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2023