ISLAMABAD: As the opposition steps up work on creating a joint front for the “supremacy of the Constitution”, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday said if the differences between the JUI-F and the PTI “cannot be ended but they can surely be softened”.

The JUI-F leader made these comments after a delegation of the Tehreek Tahafuz Ayeen-i-Pakistan – a multi-party opposition alliance led by the PTI, called on him at his residence in Islamabad.

It may be noted that the PTI and the JUI-F were arch-rivals during the former’s stint in power, known for scathing verbal attacks against each other. However, after the Feb 8 polls, the two parties eyed reconciliation on the back of the “rigging” in the elections, which saw a PML-N-led coalition government come to power. Before that, the Maulana and PTI Chairman Imran Khan were known to be “bitter political rivals” and personal attacks against each other were a regular feature of their politics.

Opposition leaders concerned over treatment meted out to Chaman sit-in

In fact, quite recently, the JUI-F even clarified his ‘Jewish agent’ moniker for Imran Khan as well, saying it was not a “cuss but a title”.

He had justified he should have been asked to explain his usage of the term for the PTI chief and taken seriously.

During the meeting, both sides agreed on the need for a unified stance in the opposition and open communication in politics to reduce the “bitterness” and continue their movement for the supremacy of the rule of law.

“Today we had a very good conversation, we want to take all parties together for the movement to protect the sanctity of the constitution of Pakistan, be it the PTI founder [Imran] or Mehmood Khan Achakzai, everyone believes in the supremacy of the Constitution,” Omer Ayub added.

The opposition leaders also lent their support to a sit-in by traders at the Chaman border against the new visa regime, which allowed entry from Afghanistan only with a valid passport and visa.

National Assembly Opposition Leader and PTI leader Omar Ayub extended support to the protesters and said the CNIC should be allowed to be used for border crossing instead of passports.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2024

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