ISLAMABAD - Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), which has finally managed to get space in the federal cabinet, is now forcing the PML-N government for some powerful ministries, including ministry of communication that is currently under the control of prime minister.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, before administrating oath of its two senior members Akram Durrani and Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, has requested to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for some powerful portfolios for his team members, which is still under deliberation, sources in JUI-F shared with The Nation.

The JUI-F chief a couple of days before also demanded of the incumbent government to come up with specific Kashmir policy otherwise he would not take charge of Kashmir committee chairmanship. It is relevant to note here that Fazlur Rahman made this demand before being a part of federal cabinet as later he also took the charge of Kashmir committee’s chairmanship.

The sources said the JUI-F is now trying for some powerful portfolios for both of its members; however, the PML-N might accept one of the wishes in shape of communication ministry’s portfolio.

When contacted, JUI-F spokesman Jan Achakzai said ministries portfolios are still not assigned to his party members. “It can take some more days to decide about new assignments,” he added.

Sources said that JUI-F might also join the cabinet in Balochistan after the return of JUI-F chief from Saudi Arabia. Sources said both the political parties have still not reached on any consensus on this matter and it is under discussion.

It is relevant to mention here JUI-F had also recently been asked to play its part for peace talks with Taliban by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Welcoming Nawaz Sharif’s offer that other politicians can hold talks with the Taliban, the JUI-F had reportedly commented that it is unfortunate that belatedly the prime minister admitted challenges in holding talks by saying that it is not for the government only to hold talks.

It is also relevant here that JUI-F has vast experience of heading chairmanship of Kashmir committee and ministry of housing and works in PPP’s era.

JUI-F CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH TALIBAN: Staff Reporter from Peshawar adds: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has called upon the federal government to take political forces and relevant stakeholders into confidence to devise an effective mechanism to initiate meaningful dialogue with Taliban for durable peace in the country.

“The JUI-F from the day first was in favour of holding purposeful talks with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), instead of creating any confusion and waste of time on such critical issue,” said JUI-F Central Spokesperson Jan Muhammad Achakzai, while speaking at ‘Meet the Press’ programme, organised by the Peshawar Press Club here on Saturday. He said that all the political parties given mandate to the incumbent PML-N-led government to hold talks with the TTP for the establishment of durable peace in the country.

Jan Achakzai, however, said that confusion regarding the negotiation process, at national level was being created, which could negatively affect it in the long-run. He emphasised the need to exhaust all options and make serious efforts for formally initiating talks with the TTP top leadership. He also claimed that the JUI-F played pivotal role to resolve the conflict amicably and developed consensus for holding traditional tribal jirga with Taliban. He also emphasized to ensure transparency while holding talks, as that would be a daunting task.

Regarding the demand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan for convening another APC on the law and order issue, he said that it was not a right time for such demands, rather to accelerate peace process. He also called for an effective mechanism while devising a comprehensive strategy to start talks with the TTP.

Similarly, commenting on the current law and order situations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Achakzai said that situation was going from bad to worst with each passing day, adding the growing incidents of kidnapping for ransom, target killing, and miscreants activities were glaring examples for poor performance of the incumbent government in the province. He added if the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government could not control the situation then the federal government should interfere and maintain law and order situation by carrying out targeted operations.

The JUI-F spokespersons observed that the present confrontation policy between the centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government would ultimately affect the rights of people of this province, which must be avoided. He criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan for allegedly using Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as springboard to gain political mileage ahead the local government elections in Punjab. He said that Imran, instead of taking steps to maintain law and order and to ensure protection to the lives and properties of masses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He informed that JUI-F would hold a, impressive show against the PTI-led coalition government on January 26 aimed to make public its poor performance during last seven month.

Regarding statement of State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, he said that it was totally injustice to blame a district or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for stealing electricity. He viewed that electricity thieves are much higher in Punjab and Karachi as compared to KPK.

When asked about joining JUI-F in the federal cabinet, Achakzai said that the party joind federal cabinet on certain conditions. According to conditions, he added that the JUI-F asked the government to revisit foreign policy and take effective steps for maintaining peace in the country.