Presidential election: Despite his party line, Maulana Fazl 'wants to vote for Achakzai'

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JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks in this still taken from a video. — Geo News
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman speaks in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

  • Fazl says JUI-F will be where the opposition benches are.
  • JUI-F seeks "environment where differences can be removed" 
  • Election of the country's president to take place on March 9. 

KARACHI: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that he wants to vote for Mahmood Achakzai — the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council's (SIC) candidate for the presidential election — but his party's decision demands otherwise.

He, however, ruled out the possibility of joining hands with the allied parties, saying that the environment for a grand alliance is not yet there.

"We will be where the opposition benches are. We will go to parliament and protest," he added while speaking to a gathering at Jamia Anwarul Uloom in Karachi on Sunday.

Achakzai, the chief of Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), has been nominated as the presidential candidate against Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who is a joint candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other political parties part of the coalition set to form a government at the Centre.

The National Assembly today elected PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif as the 24th prime minister of Pakistan in a ruckus-hit session. This will be followed by the election of the country's president on March 9, with Zardari as the strongest candidate, having the support of several parties in the parliament.

In a veiled jibe, Fazl said that those who knew he would be the presidential candidate against them offered money.

He said that the politicians should stand by their commitments, therefore, he still has the same stance regarding the Imran Khan-founded party — the PTI.

"We want to have an environment where differences could be removed," he added.

Continuing his criticism of the alleged rigged polls, Fazl said that the "establishment has divided itself in the elections" and "adjusted some in one place and some in another".

Pakistan staged the biggest election of its history last month, which was extraordinary in various aspects. However, the outcome of the polls did not turn out to be as expected by the political actors as none of them got a simple majority.

Subsequently, many parties including the PTI, JUI-F and others rejected the general elections.

Fazl said that his party has rejected the election results and the facts emerging with time are confirming the party's stance.

"We believe that 2024 elections broke rigging records of the 2018 polls," Fazl said, adding that the current parliament was an outcome of rigging.

He said that some people would call themselves the rulers but wouldn't rule the hearts of the nation. "Democracy is losing its case, parliament is losing its importance."

Fazl further stated that the JUI-F doesn't have personal issues with anyone but "these rulers have taken rule as power".

"They think that they will buy assemblies with money," he added.

Presidential election

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) schedule, the deadline to submit nomination papers for the presidential election was by Saturday (March 2) noon, while the scrutiny of nomination papers will be completed by March 4.

Candidates who wish to withdraw their nomination papers can do so by March 5. Whereas, the final list of candidates will be published on March 6 after which the polling will occur.

At least five candidates have submitted their nomination papers for the presidential election.

PPP leader Farooq H Naek submitted Zardari's nomination papers, while Achakzai’s papers were submitted by PTI-backed SIC leader Latif Khosa.

Meanwhile, Advocate Asghar Ali Mubarak, an independent candidate Waheed Kamal, and a citizen Abdul Quddus also submitted their nomination papers to run for the presidential polls.