MUZAFFARGARH: JUI-F emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman criticised the powerful establishment for interfering in politics over the weekend, saying that parliament should have the people’s representatives, and not those of any other agency.

Since the February 8 general elections, the JUI-F emir, who is otherwise known for his ability to keep friends and foes alike on an even keel, has been critical of the establishment and the incumbent government, having repeatedly “rejected” election results.

Over the past few months, he has met with opposition parties including the PTI several times, appearing visibly vexed over alleged poll rigging and outsiders’ “role in forming and dislodging governments”.

He continued with his tirade on Saturday, as he stood at the podium to address a public assembly in Muzaffargarh.

JUI-F chief critical of ‘meddling in politics’; says blaming Kabul ‘a cover up’ for own failure to curb terrorism

“Vote is people’s right, and governments should be formed per people’s wishes, no matter how much power one wields.”

In a message to “those powerful quarters”, he said the nation disregards their power and “won’t accept servitude”.

“You cannot keep making a mockery of people’s rights and disparage the value of their votes while sitting in the comforts of your palace.”

The JUI-F chief alleged that the incumbent assemblies “belonged to the establishment” and do not represent the people.

“We respect the institutions. We consider parliament a representative body of people,” he said, adding that it should have their representatives, not those of any other agency.

There was not even a semblance of democracy in Pakistan, and parliament had been subjugated, the JUI-F chief added.

“I am an experienced parliamentarian,” he said and questioned if the lawmakers can make laws as per their wishes.

He hailed the army’s importance as a defence force but reminded that every soldier takes an oath to never participate in politics. “If you violate that oath, you are no longer a soldier, and I am not obliged to respect you.”

Blame on Kabul

The JUI-F chief said the economy had been faltering for the past 75 years and gave examples of India, China and even Afghanistan, whose economies, he claimed, were better than Pakistan.

He also criticised the failure to eliminate terrorism and said blaming Afghanistan was a “means to cover up [our own] failure”.

“If terrorists cross the border from Afghanistan, then why are they not stopped at the border,” he asked, rhetorically.

Mr Rehman said the war against terror has destroyed tribes living in border areas, making them vengeful against their own institutions.

In his speech, the JUI-F chief also lambasted the government for not procuring wheat from farmers. He also questioned the decision to import 3.5 million metric tonnes of wheat when the local crop was ready to be harvested.

He vowed to continue the series of public meetings and announced a “massive jalsa” on Sept 7 at the Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore to celebrate the “Day of Victory”.

Former federal minister Maulana Asad Mehmood, JUI-F Central General Secretary Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Hyderi and the party’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter head Maulana Ataur Rehman also addressed the event.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2024

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