LAHORE, Nov 2: The JUI-F leaders and activists are stunned at the land scam reported against their chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, as elders of other politico-religious parties are avoiding to directly comment on it.

The opposition leader in the previous National Assembly, Maulana Fazl allegedly got allotted hundreds of kanals of army land in Dera Ismail Khan, NWFP, to play the role of a friendly opposition.

The land was reportedly transferred to the name of his personal assistant and brother Lutfur Rehman’s secretary in January 2005.

Former president Pervez Musharraf had promised to take off his uniform by Dec 31, 2004 in return of the help by the six-party MMA, of which the Maulana was the secretary general, in indemnifying the army ruler’s action of staging a coup against the PML-N’s elected government in 1999.

When contacted, former JUI-F secretary-general Hafiz Husain Ahmad instead of commenting on the scandal said he was seeing intensifying of a tussle between party’s Balochistan leaders -- Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani and MNA Rehmatullah Kakar.

Central vice-president Syed Amir Husain Gilani said: “Allah knows better about the veracity of the scandal”.

Information Secretary Maulana Amjad Khan sees it as a malicious campaign to disrepute the JUI-F leader for presenting Taliban’s point of view in parliament about the ongoing war on terror.

The naib amir of Jamaat-i-Islami, the second largest component of the MMA, Liaquat Baloch says his party is ignorant of the issue, though it has been part of the alliance’s five-year rule in the NWFP.

He suggests that as the JUI-F still has representation in parliament and provincial assemblies, its MPs should bring the issue to their respective houses for a clarification and proving the allegation false. He also proposes a foolproof mechanism at the national level for investigating such scandals and bringing to fore the facts.

According to him, the Awami National Party (ANP), which is currently ruling the NWFP, also owes the responsibility to probe the issue and ‘misappropriation’ of the province’s lands.

‘Defunct’ MMA’s vice-president Senator Sajid Mir terms the allegation unfortunate. “If the allegation is true then it is deplorable.”

Asked if the allegation would be considered while establishing any alliance of the religious parties, he said the issue would be discussed when the stakeholders (of the proposed alliance) would sit together in the founding session.

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