Saturday, December 09, 2023
Responding to caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti's remarks about security threats to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the party has called for the security czar's resignation and voiced concerns against a "conspiracy" to keep the senior politician away from people.
"If you [Bugti] cannot fulfil your responsibility [to provide security, ensure law and order] then resign," JUI-F leader Hafiz Hamdullah said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.
The scathing criticism comes a day after Bugti revealed that there is a security threat against JUI-F chief Fazl, while a general security threat persists against the country's political leadership as a whole.
Bugti's remarks irked the party which has faced security threats and came under attack in July this year after a suicide blast targeted a workers' convention in Bajaur — resulting in more than 40 casualties.
As Pakistan gears up for upcoming general elections slated for February 8, 2024, the country has experienced a significant rise in terror incidents with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant outfits intensifying their activities against security forces and civilians alike.
Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) — where JUI-F maintains a respectable foothold — have been the worst affected provinces with around 470 people being killed in 1,050 terror incidents in KP alone this year.
Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) statistics reflect that 897 people were killed in 599 militant attacks from January to November 2023 in the country — reflecting an 81% increase in terror attacks.
Last month alone, the country saw a 34% spike in terror incidents — after a two-month decline — resulting in 83 deaths in 63 attacks.
Continuing his tirade against the interior minister, Hamdullah questioned if the security threat only exists against Fazl.
"According to your [Bugti's] statement only Maulana Fazlur Rehman faces security threat."
"Is there a conspiracy to keep the maulana away from people [ahead of elections]? And if it is a conspiracy then who's behind it?" the JUI-F leader wondered.
Earlier this week, the JUI-F supremo Fazl himself had voiced concerns over the prevailing law and order situation in the country as the country goes into election mode.
The politico, while addressing a press conference in the federal capital, had questioned the possibility of a successful political campaign amid the deteriorating security situation in KP and Balochistan.
"There is no police in Dera Ismail Khan, Tank, and Lakki Marwat. Can the polls be staged in this situation of unrest," he said while calling for the creation of uniform circumstances in the country.
Meanwhile, Hamdullah also questioned who would be responsible if something happened to the JUI-F chief.
"Caretaker interior minister should clarify whether it's his responsibility to merely inform about the security threat or provide actual security?" he said, adding that Fazl hadn't been provided fool-proof security despite security concerns.
"Is this not your and the interim government's failure?" he concluded.