Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazlur (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that he has no plans to meet Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, amid uncertainty over the Opposition’s All Parties Conference (APC), which was scheduled to be held after the Eid.
The JUI-F chief, when asked about the meeting of the Rahbar Committee of the APC, said that no meeting had been scheduled, as there was “no use for such meetings when the leaders do not stand by their commitments”.
Declining to talk about the APC, Rehman maintained that while he had no plan to meet Sharif or Bhutto Zardari, if anyone was interested in meeting him, he would not be opposed to it.
“But they will have to explain the purpose of such a meeting in advance,” the JUI-F chief said.
Speaking about the passage of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Bill, Rehman disclosed that opposition members had voted for it, against the advice of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who had asked them to take a unified stand on the government bills and avoid taking part in voting.
The JUI-F chief said that the night before the sitting of parliament, he was in constant contact with Nawaz Sharif in London who, despite his frail health, assured him that he would speak to the relevant leadership about the legislation.
Rehman revealed that the former prime minister had called him again in the early hours and assured him that the opposition would not cast their vote, and in case the decision was altered, all the opposition leaders will sit across the table and take a unanimous decision after considering all the pros and cons.
Expressing surprise, Rehman said that instead of what was agreed upon, the PML-N and the PPP opted to vote without first consulting the JUI-F.
“I don’t know if the decision was taken with the consent of Nawaz Sharif, or it was a mutiny on the part of the leaders in Pakistan,” he said.
He added that Nawaz Sharif had also asked for a meeting of opposition leaders soon after the Eid, but the ambience for such a meeting has now been made uncomplimentary by the leaders here.
Rehman said that the opposition had not risen to the occasion and failed to deliver to the masses.
“People are waiting for the opposition to come out to rescue them and rid them of the filthily-corrupt rulers. Unfortunately, the opposition does not show reluctance to help the government sustain whenever it needs.
“The opposition leaders are not living up to their expectations, and disappointing them on one occasion after another, but the JUI and its like-minded parties would not let the people down, and continue to stand in the arena for them.”
Rehman, who chaired the meeting of JUI-F and like-minded leaders in Dera before the interview, said that the party had not slowed down its campaign to drive out the incumbent government.
He added that if other parties are interested to join, they would be welcomed.
“We are in a constant struggle against the government,” Rehman said.
The JUI-F chief recalled that he had gone to Karachi where he had a good meeting with PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bhutto Zardari, and later travelled to Lahore to meet Shehbaz Sharif.
The politicians also met each other and announced taking on the government, but that same week, they opted to vote in support of the government’s legislation.
Rehman said that the government is “enjoying the situation like anything”, since it gets to “humiliate” the opposition whenever it chooses to, and whenever the Centre needs, the opposition votes according to the will of the government.
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