Sunday Aug 09 2020

APC in limbo as Fazl says he has no plans to meet Shehbaz, Bilawal

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Photo: Reuters

ISLAMABAD: JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said he has no plans to meet PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the Opposition’s All Parties Conference (APC) which was scheduled to be held after Eid faces uncertainty.

In an exclusive chat with The News and Daily Jang on Saturday evening, the JUI-F chief, when asked about the meeting of the Rahbar Committee, said no meeting had been scheduled, as there was no use of such meetings when leaders don’t stand by what they commit.

Declining to talk about the APC, the JUI-F chief maintained that he had no plan to meet Shehbaz or Bilawal, but if anyone was interested in meeting him, he wouldn’t hesitate.

“But they will have to explain the purpose of such a meeting in advance,” he said.

Speaking about the passage of the FATF Bill, Fazl disclosed that Opposition members had voted for it against the advice of PML-N Nawaz Sharif, who had asked them to take a unified stand on the government bills and avoid taking part in voting.

Fazl said the night before the sitting of Parliament he was in constant contact with Nawaz in London who. despite his frail health, assured him that he would speak to the relevant leadership about the legislation.

The JUI-F chief 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, Fazl said that instead the PML-N and the PPP opted for voting without 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 had also asked for a meeting of opposition leaders soon after Eid but the ambience for such a meeting has now been made uncomplimentary by the leaders here.

Clearing out any misconception, Fazl said the Opposition had not risen to the occasion and failed in delivering 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."

Fazl, who chaired the meeting of JUI and like-minded leaders in Dera before the interview, said the JUI-F had not slowed down its campaign to drive out the imposed rulers and if other parties were interested to join it, they would be welcomed. “We are in a constant struggle against the government.”

The JUI-F chief recalled that he visited Karachi where he had a good meeting with Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal and later came to Lahore to meet Shehbaz. They also met each other and announced to take on the government but the same week they opted to vote for the government's legislation. He said the government was enjoying the situation like anything since it humiliates the Opposition whenever it chooses to and whenever the Centre needs, the opposition votes according to the will of the government.

Fazl said he would not leave people at the mercy of the callous rulers, who are not concerned about the people and are working for their foreign-sponsored nefarious and evil designs. He announced that he would keep fighting for the helpless people and take the cruel rulers head-on.