ISLAMABAD - Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) is joining opposition parties and openly criticising the government for not addressing the concerns of the leadership from the smaller provinces over the western corridor and other related matters.

Despite being in coalition with Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in the federal government, JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman has come up with a very strong-worded criticism on the government for deviating from the pledges they had made with them in the all parties conference (APC) organised on the issue.

Sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) commenting on the position taken by JUI-F, a junior coalition partner with them, said that when Moulana Fazlur Rehman met the Prime Minister he said nothing against the project but in public he took altogether a different position.

He further said that when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went for inauguration of some portion of the western corridor in Balochistan, Moulana Fazlur Rehman had accompanied the Prime Minister and had expressed satisfaction over it. But to their astonishment the very next day he had taken a U-turn expressing his serious reservations over the whole project, he added.

But JUI-F central leader and Vice-Chairman Senate Moulana Abdul Gahfoor Haideri defended the party chief’s stand saying that JUI-F could not compromise on principles and would not let anyone to usurp the rights of smaller provinces.

He further said that be it the bill on Halal Food, reservations over the complications and irrelevant things in the seminary registration form, deletion of some controversial things linking terrorism with religious seminaries and now the alleged diversion of CPEC funds to a major province in the country, his party would continue to raise voice for justice.

He said for Moulana Fazlur Rehman politics of principles are far more important than be the partner in ruling coalition.

But those aware of behind-the-scene developments informed that the JUI-F chief was not comfortable with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not honouring a number of commitments made with him from time to time.

The sources in ruling PML-N informed that Moulana Fazlur Rehman wanted the ruling PML-N to dole out the slot of state minister vacated by Moulana Abdul Gahfoor Haideri when he was elevated as Vice-Chairman Senate to his younger brother Moulana Attaur Rehman but the Premier Sharif has put the matter into limbo.

In the given situation when ruling PML-N was under pressure from various quarters on CPEC routes controversy JUI-F chief once again sprung into action to take advantage of the under pressure Prime Minister.

But those close to the Premier Sharif said that he(PM) was very much annoyed with Moulana Fazlur Rehman and would unlikely meet his demands because on many an occasions in the past he had ditched the senior coalition partner be it the elections of Leader of Opposition in Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa Assembly, Senate elections, election of Vice-Chairman Senate or the support government needed on part of its coalition partners in CPEC.