Fazl seeks guarantees from PTI to join opposition alliance

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has indicated his need for solid assurances from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) before he considers aligning with the opposition’s coalition, Tehreek Tahaffuz-e-Aain-e-Pakistan (TTAP).

Rehman highlighted the confusion around who should be the point of negotiation with PTI—questioning whether it should be the prime minister, the president, or the army chief.

At a press briefing joined by PTI representatives following a dialogue in Islamabad Wednesday night, Rehman noted that his faction has not made a firm decision about entering the coalition but recognized ongoing discussions to bring them on board.

A journalist’s inquiry about JUI-F demanding guarantees from PTI as a precursor to anti-government action drew Rehman’s confirmation, stating, “Yes, any serious talk necessitates trust-building measures.”

He further inquired, “With whom are we meant to confer? Is it the prime minister, president, or army chief who will lead the talks?”

Rehman voiced objection to the assault on PTI Central Spokesperson Raoof Hasan, disapproving of the police’s choice to raid PTI offices in lieu of capturing the assailants.

Also read: Imran Calls for Public Protest Following PTI Leader Assault

“We had a visit from opposition leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser today as a gesture of good faith, which we appreciated,” remarked Rehman. “They believe in the power of meetings to lessen hard feelings, a sentiment we can get behind.”

Rehman expressed alarm over the diminished relevance of the Constitution and Parliament, alongside a failing democracy. He criticized the ongoing military operations for not reducing terrorism, despite lengthy campaigns.

“A drone strike recently hit civilian areas,” he added. “Operations are underway without adequate forethought. Moreover, long-standing protests at the Chaman border have disrupted local commerce and the livelihood of daily wage earners in Angoor Adda, South Waziristan.”

He empathized with the hardship of the inhabitants of Jamrud, who face trade constraints and demand their rights, suggesting that their positions on shared issues might synchronize. “While obliterating our differences may not be possible, we can temper them,” he proposed.

Fazl received thanks from PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub for his hospitality. “As part of the opposition, we aim to continue advocating for constitutional integrity as part of the Tehreek Tahaffuz-e-Aain movement. This echoes the wishes of our founder Imran Khan and leaders like Mehmood Achakzai,” said Ayub.

He noted that while JUI-F’s protests persist, PTI’s constitutional advocacy will also see countrywide rallies. Ayub called out the disregard for constitutional principles, saying, “The Constitution seems a forgotten concept in Pakistan at present.”

PTI’s Hammad Azhar denounced the police search of their premises, stressing the misplaced focus away from finding Hasan’s attackers to apprehending the innocent.

Azhar urged the government to address the legitimate grievances of the Chaman demonstrators and criticized the Quetta Press Club’s closure as it prevented Mahrang Baloch’s press briefing, labeling such acts harmful to the nation. “Democracy is our strength, and with the existing state of affairs, we are unlikely to attract investment. We unequivocally condemn any anti-democratic activities,” he affirmed.

Asad Qaiser, showing gratitude towards Rehman for his warm welcome, mentioned the wheat shortage in Punjab causing distress among farmers and an economic downturn in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. He called for a united effort for the supremacy of the Constitution.

Qaiser challenged the notion of lawfulness in respect to the attack on Hasan, advocating for Rehman’s influence to support constitutional enforcement. He also stood with the judiciary in light of recent comments against them in the Senate.

Omar Ayub, in closing, expressed strong disapproval of the Punjab government’s defamation legislation, vowing to contest it legally. Echoing the sentiments of Imran Khan, he proclaimed, “Regardless of the time I spend incarcerated, my principles will remain steadfast.”

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