Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday said that his party would stay in parliament but won’t become part of any government in the Centre and provinces.

Talking to reporters after the provincial executive council meeting of the party here, the JUIF chief said the party would also stay away from elections for the office of the country’s president and opposition leader in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

“We have not been ousted from the system, rather we have come out of the system on our own. Let me tell you that those who are part of the system will start crying soon. And those who are out of it, would be able to speak up decisively,” he said.

The JUIF chief said: “There will be no smooth sailing for the system and it is bound to collapse. I am worried about the future of the country.”

He alleged that the establishment was solely responsible for rigging the elections. The situation was the same as it was in 2018, he said, adding the establishment wanted to have a parliament of choice and they even asked political parties to field candidates according to its choice.

“We want a complete end to such blatant intervention. We want parliament, not the establishment, to be the people’s representative,” he remarked.

Regarding participation in assemblies, he said that their representatives would be sworn in as members of parliament. But they would not take part in any elections, he said, while answering a question about the KP Assembly, which will hold its maiden meeting today (Wednesday).

To a question about the developing ties between JUIF and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the Maulana said that an initial meeting had been held between the two parties. The problem with the media is that it jumps to conclusion right after the very first step is taken, he added.

“The actual thing is that they had come to us and we welcomed them as per the local tradition and political culture. We do have hell of a difference with them. But being a political party, if they agree to settle matters with us and remove our concerns, things can move forward. We don’t play politics with guns. We have always played the politics of reason and justification,” he argued.

About the PTI’s letter to IMF, he said he was against the involvement of international bodies in internal affairs of the country and such letters would worsen the situation instead of bringing any betterment, especially at a time when the country’s economy was facing serious challenges.

Regarding the imprisonment of PTI’s founder, he said that he did not favour the imprisonment of political leaders. However, it was a matter of law and courts, which could make a better decision given the cases against him, he added.

The JUIF chief also spoke about the alleged pre-poll rigging. He said that the threats and attacks on the party leadership before the elections were a clear message to them that they could not come out and run an effective campaign, while their opponents were facilitated to hold election gatherings even in inaccessible areas. Interestingly, the series of threats stopped after the elections, he said.

Maulana Fazl also counted the factors due to which the strength of the religious party was reduced in parliament. “I don’t accept the notion that people have rejected us. I am aware of our strength. But let me tell you who has problems with our strength in parliament,” he added.

He accused both the national and international establishment of playing a role in cutting his party to size. The national establishment and the ruling class have never been in favour of Islamic legislation in the country and for this purpose, they want to suppress their voice at the initial stage and stop their massive entry into parliament, he claimed.

Also, he said, the international establishment was angry with them for raising the slogan of anti-Americanism after 9/11, playing a positive role in overcoming the trust deficit between Pakistan and Taliban government in Afghanistan and bringing them closer to each other and raising loud and clear voice in support of Palestinians and against Israel’s atrocities in Gaza.

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