LAHORE: A delegation of Tehreek-i-Tahafuz-i-Aien (movement for protection of constitution), led by its president Mahmood Khan Achakzai, on Saturday met newly-elected Jamaat-i-Islami emir Naeemur Rehman and won a “limited” support for the new movement.

The JI would be part of the seminar to be held next week for developing a political consensus on the issue.

According to some insiders, Jamaat won’t join the movement nor give it blanket support. It will respond on the basis of each issue, lending support to the opposition only where it thinks it should and, above all, if the JI Shura allows.

“The current consensus between JI and those who came to the JI headquarters here on Saturday revolves around Form-45 rigging, nothing more,” explains a Jamaat leader.

Achakzai-led delegation meets Naeemur Rehman; Jamaat chief seeks judicial commission to investigate poll rigging

“Since [Naeemur] Rehman has taken up the issue more vociferously than even PTI, Jamaat’s old guards are reluctant to follow this single-point agenda. However, the JI emir, being newly elected, has some ‘honeymoon margin’ and Jamaat is following him. There may soon be some reality check.

The JI, however, is all for the protection of the constitution, but without turning it into an issue of any other political bargain as some parties are trying to do,“ he explained.

Led by Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the opposition delegation included figures like former NA speaker Asad Qaiser, Hamid Khan advocate, Sanaullah Baloch, Asad Naqvi, and Punjab Assembly opposition leader Ahmed Khan Bhachar.

It discussed the current political landscape and extended the JI an invitation to a seminar planned by the opposition movement on May 8.

Mr Rehman accepted the invitation, assuring the visitors of JI’s participation in the programme. Alongside him were JI secretary general Amirul Azeem and Vice Emir Dr Osama Razi.

Addressing the media alongside opp­o­sition leaders, he welcomed the army chief’s stance on upholding constitutional boundaries, expressing the hope that the institution would adhere to these principles both in word and deed.

He suggested that if political parties and institutions were willing to abide by the constitution, a significant dialogue could ensue. However, he stressed that the restoration of public mandate through Form-45 would serve as the foundation for such a dialogue, firmly stating JI would never accept a government formed on a fraudulent mandate. The JI chief demanded the establishment of a judicial inquiry commission to investigate election rigging.

Mr Rehman emphasised that restoration of the Constitution would encompass democracy within political parties, the revival of student unions, and the empowerment of local government.

He highlighted the crises, including economic turmoil, inflation, unemployment, and the grievances of farmers, and said progress could only be achieved through the supremacy of law.

He stated that the JI’s ultimatum to the Punjab government regarding the reassessment of its decision on non-procurement of wheat from farmers would conclude on Tuesday. He vowed that the JI would compel the government to review its decision through peaceful protests.

Reiterating the demand for a thorough investigation into the billion-dollar wheat import scandal, the JI emir criticised former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar for issuing not identifying those responsible for the import decision.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2024

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