ISLAMABAD - Months-long romance of JUI-F with PML-N federal government went too bad and religio-political party chief Fazlur Rehman on Friday finally decided to part ways, expressing reservations over ‘policy issues’.
The detachment of the junior partner – Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) – from central government is allegedly due to nonchalant attitude of PML-N government, which still enjoys 2/3 majority in the lower house.
The gulf between the two coalition partners started to widen in the last couple of months but talks with the Taliban became the central issue over which differences emerged and JUI-F complained that it was not taken into confidence by the ruling political party.
Attempts by The Nation to reach JUI-F chief Fazlur Rahman, who is in London, remained unsuccessful as a party member informed that Fazl would be available for comment after he is done with leading Friday’s prayer. Later on, his cell phone was not responding.
The JUI-F spokesperson Jan Achakzai said that until deadlock on policy issues is resolved with PML-N, JUI-F feels difficult to continue to be coalition partner. “JUI has not been taken into confidence on PPO (Protection of Pakistan Ordinance), NISP (National Internal Security Policy) and Taliban talks by PML-N as an ally. This is why JUI ministers have submitted resignations”, he added.
The leader of the party, which has been seen by some as too much demanding, said his party has been having differences with PML-N for the last four months over policy issues and their priority has been convergence on issues rather than ministries or privileges.
“We are open for talks with PML-N to forge convergence on issues,” Achakzai said, adding that holding onto ministries was never their priority whereas the party chief has formally notified the government in this regard.
He said it was not possible for them to get along with the government until the present deadlock was not resolved.
Before distancing itself from federal government, the JUI-F expressed its annoyance in the National Assembly (NA) over the passage of PPO bill 2013, but the PML-N did not pay any heed to them. Some senior members of ruling party held a single meeting with Fazl to resolve the issues between the two partners but that too proved fruitless.
Recently, the JUI-F had been treading a deviated path from the government policy. It expressed strong reservations over the contents of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) relating to religious seminaries. It had not only opposed the idea of army’s representation in peace talks but also distanced itself from peace talks.
JUI-F has 13 seats in the National Assembly and two of its lawmakers, Akram Durrani and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, were inducted in the federal cabinet but despite the passage of around three months they were not given portfolios. Sources said the JUI-F had negotiated the two cabinet posts with the PML-N in July last at the time of presidential election and as reward to their support to the ruling party candidate Mamnoon Hussain.
They claimed that the junior partner had expressed desire for the portfolios of ministry of communication and housing & works.
JUI-F, which had also remained coalition partner of PPP in the previous government, had locked horns with it too on the issue of ministries. As, in the mid of December 2010, Fazl had announced that his party was parting ways with the PPP-led coalition government at the Centre following the sacking of Minister for Science and Technology Azam Khan Swati.
Former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani had reportedly removed the JUI-F minister from the cabinet for ignoring his directives to stop accusing Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi for his alleged involvement in the Haj operation scam. In a strong reaction, following the sacking of the JUI-F minister, two more JUI-F ministers, Rehmatullah Kakar, Minister for Housing and Works, and Attaur Rehman, Minister for Tourism, had also tendered resignations.