Sharif camp optimistic after Nawaz woos Fazl for support

Published March 2, 2024
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman share a light moment during a meeting at the latter’s residence in Islamabad on Friday.—White Star
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman share a light moment during a meeting at the latter’s residence in Islamabad on Friday.—White Star

ISLAMABAD: PML-N sup­reme leader Nawaz Sharif visited the residence of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman here on Friday, possibly to seek the latter’s support in the formation of the upcoming coalition government at the Centre, as the JUI-F had abs­tained during the voting for speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

Nawaz Sharif was accompanied by PML-N stalwarts Ishaq Dar, Rana Sanaullah, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq and Khawaja Saad Rafique. The hosts included JUI-F Secre­tary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Haji Ghulam Ali, Aslam Ghori, Noor Alam Khan and Usman Badini.

Both parties maintained that the discussion was focused on the country’s political situation and the need to make collective efforts for discarding the feeling of depression and uncertainty among the masses.

The huddle took place a day after Rana Sanaullah held a meeting with the JUI-F chief and apparently fail­ed to persuade Maulana Fazl to extend his party’s support to the coalition government, led by the PML-N.

Rana Sanaullah says Maulana has no grudge against PML-N

Soon after the photo session, the leaders of both the parties came out of the room, allowing Mr Sharif and Maulana Fazl to hold one-on-one talks.

As they came out, Saad Rafique was asked by the media why they were not participating in the meeting. He responded that the Almighty would bring good news and declined to say anything about the future role of JUI-F in the federal cabinet.

However, Rana Sanaullah, who is PML-N Punjab president, told the media: “Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman had a good meeting to discuss wide-ranging national issues, as the country is passing through a very difficult period.”

Asked if the PML-N supremo was seeking the JUI-F vote for his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif for the post of prime minister, Mr Sanaullah said: “Nawaz Sharif did not come here with the intention of seeking votes from Maulana Fazlur Rehman.”

He added that the political situation facing the country was discussed and the reason for the one-on-one meeting was to reach some conclusion for the betterment of Pakistan. “Maulana sahib is our leader, we have faced tough times together and we have always been guided by him,” he added. “He [Maulana Fazl] has always been very kind to us, we will not let him go anywhere.”

Mr Sanaullah said the Maulana had informed Mr Sharif about his party’s position vis-à-vis the recent general elections.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman has no grudge against us and our effort is that they will stay with us, we want his guidance,” he added.

After the PML-N delegation had departed, Maulana Ghafoor Haidari came out smiling, saying there has been progress in the meeting.

“When the two leaders came out of the one-on-one meeting, both looked happy,” he said. “But our position is firm, we will not be part of the government.”

He explained that the JUI-F had taken a major decision not to join the government and they do not have the authority to change it.

“Meeting of the party’s Sindh general council will be held on March 3, that of Punjab on March 7, and the central general council’s meeting will be held after Ramazan,” the JUI-F leader said, adding that a decision whether to join the government or not has to be ratified at the central general council meeting.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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