PESHAWAR - Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazl Rehman will face a senior contender Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani on the party's top slot in the intra-party elections being held here today.
The central level intra-party elections of Fazl Rehman led-JUI-F will take place at the party's central secretariat here.
Up to 400 members of JUI-F general council would cast votes in the election whereas delegates from other provinces have already reached the provincial metropolis.
For the first time in the recent past, a strong group has emerged to challenge the Maulana family's influence over the party.
As a couple of months back, Maulana Attaur Rehman, the younger brother of Maulana Fazl Rehman, had lost to Maulana Shujaul Mulk in the intra-party elections for the party's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter.
To avoid the same situation, from day one, efforts were underway to elect Maulana Fazl Rehman unopposed, but to no avail till the filing of this report. Earlier, the intra-party elections of JUI-F were scheduled in Lahore, but the venue was shifted to Peshawar just to provide an edge to Maulana Fazl Rehman over his rival candidate Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani from Balochistan, sources within the party told this scribe.
It has been learnt that some influential personalities were out to convince Maulana Sherani to withdraw from the race, but it bore no fruit. In this regard, the JUI-F Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief Maulana Gul Naseeb has said the venue was changed only because of Pakistan Awami Tehreek's protests and blockade of roads in Lahore.
Moreover, he dispelled the impression that they were lobbying for a particular candidate. He said that it was the right of every member of general council to contest for any party office or cast vote in the polls.
Maulana Fazl Rehman and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri are contesting for central chief and general secretary office of the party while Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani and Mufti Kifayatullah are candidates of the rival panel for the same offices.