ISLAMABAD, May 17: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman met Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N for about 90 minutes on Thursday to try and improve relations between their parties, but his mission was undermined by the secretary-general of his party, Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.
When Maulana Fazl was trying to control the damage caused by an exchange of allegations between PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Maulana Haideri, the JUI-F senator was telling media personnel that he was the leader of an ‘independent’ opposition in the Senate. (Senator Dar is the leader of the opposition in the Senate.)
Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of opposition in the National Assembly, had on Wednesday severely criticised Senator Haideri’s decision to vote for PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah during election for chairman of a parliamentary committee and accused the JUI-F of practising double standards.
He had also said the PML-N would ask the Speaker of the National Assembly to remove from the opposition benches the “government people occupying on them”.
“Who is he to talk like that?” asked Senator Haideri on Thursday. “This is all the strange because this has come from a party that is known as a ‘friendly opposition’,” he remarked.
Later in the day, Senator Haideri issued a statement alleging that the PML-N had collaborated with the PPP during elections for the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate.
According to the statement, the PML-N extended support to the PPP for four years to prolong its own rule in Punjab. The party’s leaders have been meeting army generals in secret to solicit their support.
It said the PML-N had reneged on its pledge to boycott the 2008 general election, leaving the other opposition parties in the lurch.
Meanwhile, talking to journalists after his meeting with Senator Dar, Maulana Fazl distanced himself from the statement of his party colleague.
“It was Senator Haideri, not I, who issued the statement against Chaudhry Nisar.”
Chaudhry Nisar was an important leader but was a little too emotional, he said. “He will change his stance when he will realise his mistake.”
Maulana Fazl said every opposition leader should strive to forge unity in the opposition ranks. “This is not the time for friction and tension among opposition parties.”
Weighing in on the possible reopening of the Nato supply routes, the JUI-F chief said the PPP-led government was being blackmailed because it had been weakened by the Supreme Court ruling against Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
He said the reopening of the routes would lead to ferocious protests across the country.