SUKKUR, Oct 14: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Sunday that the attack on Malala Yousufzai in Swat should be condemned, but those raising a hue and cry over it should also condemn the bombings of seminaries and mosques.

“We have some reservations about the Malala incident because the army and the government want to use this issue for launching an operation in Waziristan,” he said while addressing a big public meeting here.

He said the US and other western powers were interested in launching the operation but “we will not permit the government to oblige them”.

Maulana Fazl said it’s time to elect a new leadership capable of taking the country out of internal and external crises which it had been facing for 65 years.

He said while the ‘powers that be’ had persisted with their wrong policies on the Kashmir issue, more than 100,000 Kashmiris had lost their lives over the past 20 years.

Maulana Fazl said the country’s image had been tarnished by bloodshed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan in the name of the war on terror and the law and order problems in Sindh, including target killings, extortion and kidnappings in Karachi.

He said the policies of successive regimes had left more than 70 per cent people in extreme poverty. Dogs of feudal lords enjoyed milk and butter while the poor peasants were deprived of bread.

He said the country needed a strong system of governance based on injunctions of Islam and only the JUI-F was capable of leading it on such a path.

The JUI-F chief said the Unites States had been supporting the current government.

He said the nation could not be misled now because it had tested all the faces and the power centres had ensured in order to maintain their hegemony that there were only cosmetic changes.

He said economic discipline was needed because the country could afford to feed its people but it had fallen into the trap of the International Monetary Fund. He said revival of economy was not possible without protection of people.

He said the clerics had led the nation in undivided India in the 19th century and there had been no sectarian or religious clashes. Muslim-Hindu hatred spread after the arrival of the British rulers and their policy of ‘divide and rule’, he said.

He said the dynamic leadership of Ulema had resulted in the creation of Pakistan, but when the leadership shifted from their hands to politicians from Oxford and Cambridge the differences among Shias, Sunnis, Barelvis, Deobandis, Sindhis, Mohajirs, Baloch and Pakhtuns cropped up.

Maulana Fazl said those fanning hatred on the basis of gender and language were agents of the US and an alternative should be presented to the people in the coming elections.

He said the proposed accountability bill would not help improve the economy.

He said parliament had become irrelevant because it had no role in various sensitive matters and decisions had been taken by powerful sectors who bypassed it.

Maulana Fazl rejected armed struggle to achieve political ends and stressed the importance of democratic process.

He criticised Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain’s statement about seeking details of seminaries and their heads after the attack on Malala Yousufzai and said he did not have the right to demand such information.

He said if the West took an aggressive stand on the blasphemy issue it would face a joint response from the Muslims.Talking to reporters earlier, he said the JUI-F would strongly oppose a military operation in Waziristan because it would be dangerous for the country’s security and interests. He said the Malala incident was sad and shocking and “we have condemned it” but stressed that it should not be used for launching an operation in Waziristan because it would plunge the country into a new crisis.

Maulana Fazl said that instead of solving the country’s problems the government was busy in serving the interests of western countries in the war against terror in which Pakistan’s soil and armed forces were being used.

He said that had the government been sincere it could have easily overcome terrorism and other problems in a short time.

He said government had adopted ad hoc policies to prolong its rule instead of solving problems.

He said that while the coalition partners kept threatening the government and then joining hands with it terrorist elements continued to pursue their evil plans.

Maulana Fazl said some laws introduced by the government had created bitterness among the provinces.

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