Fazl urges political parties to end dependence on establishment for electoral success

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday called for an end to the political mindset that depending on the establishment was necessary for electoral success.

Fazl made the remarks during a press conference in Multan when he was asked about the potential of his movement’s success against the government when he did not have the support of the establishment.

“I think we need to end this mentality,” he responded.

“This mind[set] needs to end that can we not wage a movement without the establishment’s willingness? Will our every poll and its result come out with their blessing? We have to fight a war against this [mentality].”

The original word “establishment” is a euphemism referring to a civil-military bureaucratic alliance calling the shots and, when required, undermining elected governments.

The JUI-F chief said that in a democratic system, the Constitution was superior to all and the institutions were bound by it. “The establishment cannot be both servant and master,” he said.

Fazl warned that unless citizens rose up and protected the sanctity of their vote, then “we are headed towards slavery”. “We cannot accept a single entity being our master or our politicians not defending the Constitution. It is unacceptable.”

The JUI-F chief said that his party had so far held three successful rallies. “The response was favourable,” he said, adding that another rally was scheduled in Muzaffargarh in June.

“We are spreading our message to the world and we will not compromise,” he said.

Fazl reiterated his demand for fresh elections and for the government to step down.

“Our demands are for a free election distanced from the army. No agency will have anything to do with the elections. Their involvement has tainted the elections to the point you can’t call them elections,” he claimed.

Says ‘yahoodi agent’ slur he used for Imran was mere ‘title’

Fazl said that PTI members were in touch with his party “both in front of the media and off the record”, adding that the meetings were aimed to “eliminate any concerns”.

When asked about his openness to meeting PTI founder Imran Khan, he said, “We are political people, and we are open to talks. If the environment is good enough, we will actively pursue negotiations.”

The JUI-F chief admitted that “there is no doubt” that he and the PTI founder had remained bitter opponents for over a decade with concerns about each other. However, he added that if those concerns were removed then he would welcome talks in a cordial environment.

“We don’t consider continuous fighting to be in the national interest.”

The JUI-F chief was subsequently asked about the moniker Yahoodi Agent (Jewish agent) he has used for the PTI founder in the past, to which he offered a clarification, saying that it was “not a cuss but a title”.

Fazl said he should have been asked to explain his usage of the term for the PTI chief and taken seriously.

“We are taking these things politically, and if their people coming today [to meet us] had come 12 years ago, my attitude would’ve been the same,” he said.

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