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PESHAWAR, July 14: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman came out with a grim warning on Saturday: removal of another prime minister could derail democracy. He sounded a note of caution for the judiciary, too: please stay `neutral’ and do not become `a part of conspiracies’.

“If the prime minister goes, the system can collapse,” he said in reply to a question about the July 25 deadline given by the Supreme Court to Raja Pervez Ashraf in the NRO implementation case.

The JUI-F chief made the remarks at a function, held at the party’s provincial secretariat, to honour about 1,200 madressah students on completion of their course.

Maulana Fazl said the situation had gone beyond an issue of law and justice; it had now turned into personal rivalry and constituted a clear and present danger to the political order and institutions.

“I think the situation is heading towards personal confrontation. But the judiciary should be very careful and play a neutral role instead of making itself a part of the crisis,” he cautioned.

He was of the opinion that early elections could steer the country out of crisis. “If the nation goes for early elections, it will not be a big price to save the democratic system.”

Maulana Fazl warned that confrontation between institutions could push the country towards anarchy.

The maulana welcomed the appointment of Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim as Chief Election Commissioner. However, he added, Justice Ebrahim might face problems in handling things because of old age.

In reply to a question about drone attacks and reopening of Nato supply routes, the JUI-F leader said drone attacks had nothing to do with the resumption of supplies. “The US will persist with the strikes anyway. The people who can stop drone strikes have themselves given permission to the Americans to continue attacks,” he said.

Criticising policies of the Awami National Party-led provincial government, he said Chief Minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti had no role in taking important decisions.

He alleged that the Peshawar corps commander was calling the shots while army contingents were still present in Swat and other districts of Malakand division. He accused the establishment of “creating problems for JUI-F”.

Earlier speaking at the graduation ceremony, Maulana Fazl expressed concern over sectarian violence and accused intelligence agencies of patronising those parties and organisations which were involved in sectarianism. He said ulema could play an important role in defusing sectarian tension in the country. “Hidden hands are promoting sectarian disharmony and it is the government’s responsibility to expose such powers.”

Seminaries were being targeted to discourage people from getting religious education, the maulana alleged.