- Prime minister asks Nisar to ‘have detailed meeting with Fazl and discuss his plan in detail’
- JUI-F chief praises Nawaz for delivering clear message to US Taliban talks issue
The beleaguered leader of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Fazlur Rehman on Monday met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and reiterated his desire to help Nawaz oust the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
The significance of the meeting has doubled as PTI Chairman Imran Khan has severely criticised the recent price hike and the prime minister’s failure to effectively raise the issue of drone strikes inside Pakistani territory during his recent visit to the United States.
A source in the government, requesting not to be named, said the prime minister gave a “patient and eager hearing” to the Fazl’s advice, who is hell-bent on ousting the PTI’s government in KP.
Minister for Interior Nisar Ali Khan and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Parvez Rashid were also present in the meeting.
“The PML-N government is now inclined to build pressure on Imran Khan’s party and under the same design, it has appointed Engr Ameer Muqam adviser to the prime minister with the status of a federal minister. Though Muqam’s performance in recent general elections was zero and he had lost all seats by Imran Khan’s ‘tsunami’, his elevation reflects that Nawaz is now seriously mulling having his party’s footprint expanded in the conflict-hit province of KP,” the source added.
According to the numerical strength in KP, the PTI is on the top with 34 of the 99 seats while the JUI-F has 20 seats, the PML-N 12, the QWP seven, the Jamaat-e-Islami seven and 11 seats are occupied by independents candidates. However, later, the independents chose to merge into the PTI’s fold.
The source said Nawaz not only gave an eager ear to the JUI-F chief’s advice but also tasked Nisar to have a detailed meeting with Fazl and discuss his plan in detail.
An official handout also hinted towards the discussion about the KP situation, stating that the primer held a meeting with Fazlur Rehman and exchanged views on issues of “national importance”.
“Overall, the law and order and matters pertaining to national security were discussed during the meeting. The current law and order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also came under discussion, during the meeting,” the statement added.
When contacted, JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai said both leaders reviewed the law and order, particularly talks with the Taliban and expressed satisfaction that the government was pursuing dialogue with the Taliban with all honesty and “soon the nation will be taken into confidence”.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also briefed Fazlur Rehman on the outcome of his US visit and apprised him that he, in line with the mandate of the APC, raised the drone issue with the Obama administration. Fazl praised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for delivering a clear message to the US that no pressure will be acceptable on Taliban talks,” the statement added.
Asked about the discussion on the plan to oust PTI’s government in KP, Achakzai said he was not present in the meeting so could not comment.
The JUI-F chief also apprised the prime minister on his Afghanistan visit. Both the leaders also exchanged views on the recent situation in Afghanistan.
The JUI-F chief recently visited Afghanistan on a request by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The source added that both the leaders held an emergency meeting here at Noor Khan Airbase prior to the prime minister’s departure for the United Kingdom where he is scheduled to meet with the Afghan president and British Prime Minister David Cameron at a trilateral summit on Afghanistan endgame.
“Since Fazl has recently visited Kabul, the premier wanted to have a fresh feedback on the ground situation in Afghanistan and he also sought evaluation of the JUI-F leader over the subject matter. The premier also sought some fresh advice from him on the upcoming presidential election in Afghanistan and also how to move forward in respect of the Afghan future strategy,” the source added.
“The JUI-F chief also gave some proposals on how to move forward on the dialogue process with the TTP. He also told the prime minister that he had the support of eminent tribal elders in FATA who could engage the Taliban in talks and at some later stage, direct talks could also be held,” the source added.
The source said Fazl also raised the inordinate delay in induction of his party’s nominee into the federal capital and it was likely that one federal minister and an adviser from the JUI-F would soon be inducted.