LAHORE - While the confrontation between the ruling PML-N and the PTI continues, Jamaat-i-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq has advised both the parties to settle all the issues through dialogue.
In an interview to The Nation on Thursday, Sirajul Haq said the country already facing a number of crises could not afford the kind of conflict the two parties have been involved in for the past several months.
Asked if he could again act as a mediator to bring the two sides across the table, he said he would be able to answer the question once the three-day congregation of his party was over.
The congregation, first after 2008, is due to begin at the Minar-i-Pakistan lawns on Friday (today). Delegates from all over the country and leaders of the Jamaat-i-Islami, India, and Akhwanul Muslimoon, Egypt, will be among the participants.
Sirajul Haq and some other leaders held several rounds of talks with the leaders of the PML-N, the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik to bring an end to the longest ever sit-in in Islamabad. The government agreed to five of the six major demands of the PTI . However, the talks collapsed on the sixth point that the prime minister should step down because of the alleged rigging in the last year’s general elections.
The PML-N dismissed the demand as not-negotiable, after which the PTI is continuing with its sit-in. The PAT, however, wrapped up the sit-ins and started a series of public meetings in various cities.
Replying to a question, Sirajul Haq said the rigging allegations must be probed thoroughly. But he made it clear that he was opposed to dislodging the government through “unconstitutional means”.
He said his party also had reservations about the fairness of the 2013 elections, especially in Karachi and Fata. However, he said, he would not say the level of manipulations. He underlined the need for comprehensive electoral reforms to ensure transparency in the future polls .
When his attention was drawn to Dr Tahirul Qadri’s demand that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should step down to ensure fair investigation into the Model Town killings, the JI chief said he would not support the call unless the CM was proved guilty.
He argued that the PAT’s demand for registration of an FIR against the prime minister, the chief minister and others had already been met, after which the matter should be left to the court to decide. He said if Dr Qadri did not trust the Punjab police for any reason, he should have the case transferred to some other province.
When asked about the JI experience of working as a coalition partner with the PTI , Sirajul Haq said it was very good. Both the parties, he said, were moving ahead with a good understanding of each other’s point of view. In the light of this good experience, the JI leader said, both the parties were likely to contest the local elections together.
He avoided a direct answer to a question about the utility of PTI’s public meetings, but said every party had the right to hold rallies and public meetings.
Meanwhile, at a press conference at Minar-e-Pakistan, the JI chief blasted the ruling class without mentioning any name or specifying them. He said the political elite considered themselves above the law. They had been overwhelmingly burdening the poor people of Pakistan with foreign loans for decades, he regretted.
“In a country where people have no medical facilities, they (political elite) go to London even for the treatment of teeth,” he added with anger. He said corrupt political mafia had been looting Pakistan since its birth and now it was time to get rid of them. He said the JI was starting a final struggle to free the people of Pakistan from the point (Minar-e-Pakistan) where our forefathers had set a goal to achieve a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent in 1940.
Thousands of JI workers, including women and children, from all over the country have arrived at Minar-e-Pakistan to attend the three-day congregation starting on Friday (today). Hundreds of camps for the participants have been set up in the Minar-e-Pakistan lawns. Food would be provided to the participants in their tents. Thousands of chairs had been placed for them besides setting up medical camps and different stalls.
On the first day, the Akhwan-ul-Muslimeen chief will deliver the Friday sermon. Later, the JI chief would deliver the inaugural speech.
In all, there would be 10 sessions during the three-day moot. On the second day, there would be an international session at which leaders and representatives of the Muslim movements and different Muslim countries would speak. On the same day, there would be an international women conference which would be attended by representatives of women organisations from all over the world. There would also be a national session on the same day to be attended by leaders of major political and religious parties of the country. There would be special sessions on “The Message of the Quran and Sunnah” on both the days.
On the concluding day (Sunday) Sirajul Haq would unfold his line of action for the revival of the Pakistan movement, the strategy to highlight the real objectives for this separate Muslim homeland.
Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, Jamiat-e-Talaba Arabia and Shabab-e-Milli, will present special programmes at the gathering.