Fazl says peaceful environment a must before general election

Published December 2, 2023
JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman gestures during his speech at the gathering.—Photo by Saeed Memon
JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman gestures during his speech at the gathering.—Photo by Saeed Memon

LARKANA: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that his party is ready to go into elections but a peaceful environment is mandatory before polls so that voters can return home safely after exercising their right to franchise.

“Give us the atmosphere in which a candidate can freely move for electioneering,” said Maulana and added in the same breath that whenever he talked thus “people say Maulana wants to have the elections postponed”.

Maulana was addressing ‘Tufan-i-Aqsa and Shaheed-i-Islam’ conference organsied by his party at Municipal Stadium late on Thursday night.

He said that Election Commission of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies should think about it. “The institutions are sending us messages to restrain us from running election campaign but how can we win over our voters without contacting them and telling them about our party manifesto? We need a peaceful atmosphere for polls,” he said.

He said the situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan was different. “We don’t expect a prosperous economy if we fail to make a peaceful state and JUI-F is struggling to make economy and prosperity grow in line with the injunctions of Islam,” he said.

He said that this congregation would turn out to be a catalyst for heralding ‘change’ in the politics of Sindh and Pakistan. “We will have to admit to selecting wrong leadership. It is time to craft a future with altogether new dimensions,” he said.

He reminded the participants that this conference was held not only to remember sacrifices of late Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro but also to renew their pledge to carry forward his mission.

Maulana said: “The conference also sends a message to our Palestinian brothers, sisters and mothers that you should not feel yourself alone as we have unshaken commitment to your cause.”

He said that people were talking about boycotting Israeli products today but “we have been doing it for 15 years. We’ve crossed all obstacles and left everything to God”.

Maulana said in an apparent reference to Imran Khan that this ‘fitna’ would never raise his head again. The powers that be and international forces should know “we will not allow this ‘fitna’ to be imposed again on the nation”, he said.

“We opposed the formation of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) before its birth and argued that it would not be a forum for accountability but it would prove to be a tool for political victimisation and again during debate on the 18th Amendment in parliament we called for winding up the bureau,” he said.

“Don’t know for what compromises our friends kept the NAB alive,” he said, adding the real face of NAB had been unmasked now.

He said that youth were lured into trap with fake and eye-catching slogans, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “There is no place for you [Imran Khan] in politics. Now, instead of a ‘bat’, a ‘cat’ is in his [Imran Khan] hand,” he said in sarcasm.

Bashir Memon, president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sindh; Dr Safdar Abbasi, general secretary of Grand Democratic Alliance; former MNA of MQM-P Waseem Hussain, Maulana Attaur-ur-Rehman, former federal minister, and JUI-F leaders from other provinces and Azan Jammu and Kashmir also addressed the gathering.

They targeted PPP’s 15-year rule in Sindh and alleged it had corrupted all departments and doen them irreparable damage. PPP allocated heavy funds and then siphoned them off, they said.

They were confident that the new electoral alliances would surely inflict defeat on the PPP in upcoming elections.

The gathering also adopted a number of resolutions.

The conference ended late on Thursday night amid tight security arrangements. People faced traffic problems due to closure of certain roads.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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