As political groups get ready for the general election next year, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the head of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), said that disagreements with institutions happen and that what is wrong will be called wrong, but that there is no permanent hostility with anyone.
The tone of this speech is more peaceful than the one Fazl gave at a rally in Islamabad in May, when the movement was in power. Fazl had said, “All institutions should work within their constitutional domains, while politics is the exclusive domain of politicians, and if anyone wants to do politics, he must contest the election.”
The head of the JUI-F said at a meeting of the central general council here on Sunday, “We want to protect our mandate.” Fraud in the elections is a major crime that we will not stand for under any circumstances, even if it works out in our favor. Fazl pointed his gun at the party that used to be in power and said that 30 PTI members revolted in the National Assembly but “we did not accept them there either.” “The first thing Sharia says is that we should live by its rules.”
He called their refusal to follow through a “sign of hypocrites” and said, “If there was a worldly benefit, they would have agreed; otherwise, they would have been angry.” It was made clear by Fazl that there were no fights or riots over religion. “If the world makes a demand, things will change for us.”
As he put it, “Democracy is the name of a place where people have to earn their trust, and most people take part in democracy.” Fazl promised that his party would keep coming out against chaos and calling for peace and order. Fazl said, “We have passed through rivers of blood, but we are not ready to be distracted from the truth.” He did not name the suicide bombing at the JUI-F rally in Bajaur in July, which killed at least 54 people and hurt 200 others.
He also said that there would be a protest on Friday, November 24, to show support for the Palestinian Muslims.
There were JUI-F members from all over the country at the meeting, and Fazl was chosen as the party’s amir by all present. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri was named its general secretary for five years.
Details of the choices that are still being made will be made public later. A spokesman for the JUI-F named Muhammad Aslam Ghauri said that the Central General Council met on Saturday and Sunday at the Mufti Mahmood Center in Peshawar. Three important leaders—Maulana Haidari, Maulana Amjad Khan, Hafiz Hamdullah, and Maulana Ataul Haq Darwaish—along with the leaders of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and all four provinces gave a report during the meeting.
At the meeting, the current political situation in the country, the upcoming general elections, and the ongoing movement to help the Muslims of Palestine who are being mistreated were all talked about. The meeting was pleased with the reports that the provincial parties sent in and told them to speed up their work on getting ready for the polls.