Fazl tight-lipped on 'fruitful' meeting with Taliban chief Akhunzada

Fazl-led delegation likely to conclude Afghanistan visit and return to Pakistan today

By
Mushtaq Yusufzai
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman raises his fist during a public gathering in this undated picture. — Reuters/File
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman raises his fist during a public gathering in this undated picture. — Reuters/File

  • Delegation members confirm Fazl held one-on-one meeting.
  • Say they realised from Fazl’s reaction that meeting was "fruitful".
  • Delegation may meet TTP before returning to Pakistan.


PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman is tight-lipped on his one-on-one meeting with Taliban supreme leader Maulvi Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada and has not even updated the other members of his delegation what the two discussed, reported The News on Friday.

According to the publication, the Maulana Fazl-led delegation is likely to conclude the visit and return to Pakistan today (Friday).

However, it reported that there were rumours in Afghanistan that Akhunzada refused to meet the whole delegation and it was only Fazl who was taken to Kandahar, where the Taliban supremo is based, for the meeting.

“He told us that he had held a detailed and fruitful meeting with Sheikh Haibatullah Akhunzada and discussed multiple issues but Maulana sahib avoided sharing details of the discussion with the Taliban supreme leader,” a member of the delegation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The News. 

He also confirmed that none of the delegation members accompanied the JUI-F chief to the meeting.

“Maulana sahib (Fazlur Rahman) was taken alone to Kandahar for the meeting. Well, all of us had a great desire for this important meeting with Sheikh Haibatullah, but we had to obey what our elders wanted us to do,” said another member of the delegation. He added they realised from Fazl’s reaction that the meeting was fruitful.

“Maulana sahib is otherwise quite an easy person and never hides things. But since this is a very sensitive subject, therefore, he didn’t share anything with members of his delegation,” a close aide of the JUI-F chief told The News.

Senior members of the Afghan Taliban have confirmed Fazl’s meeting with Akhunzada but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid neither confirmed nor denied their meeting.

When asked if the delegation held talks with the Pakistani Taliban, the sources said that they held individual meetings with some of them but so far they are yet to hold any official meeting.

“Since some members of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have studied in madaris in Pakistan where some members of the delegation were their teachers, therefore, they came to visit their teachers whom they met after a long time. However, there has been no official meeting with them but before leaving for Pakistan, Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his colleagues are expected to meet with some representatives of the Pakistani Taliban,” he explained.