Fazalur Rehman Rejects Election Results, Invites PML-N to Sit on Opposition Benches

Wed Feb 14 2024
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ISLAMABAD: Head of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, has rejected the results of the February 8 general elections, asking the PML-N’s Nawaz Sharif to sit on the opposition benches instead. He said it seems as if decisions will now be taken on the ground and not in Parliament. 

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman rejected Pakistan’s Election Commission’s claim of conducting free and fair elections in the country, alleging unprecedented levels of rigging.

He said that the scale of “rigging” in 2024 surpassed that of the 2018 elections, expressing concern over the diminishing significance of Parliament and the erosion of democracy.

Despite the unofficial election results, major parties, including PML-N, PPP, and PTI, have moved swiftly to form coalitions for government formation at both the federal and provincial levels.

However, JUI-F officially announced its refusal to join any coalition led by a leader associated with the former ruling coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which ousted former Prime Minister Imran Khan through a vote of no trust in April 2022.

While confirming the party’s intention to participate in the assemblies, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that this would be done with reservations, as he categorically rejected the February 8 election results.

Regarding the Election Commission’s conduct, he questioned its impartiality and accused it of favoritism towards certain candidates, alleging that petitions from JUI-F candidates were being disregarded without proper notice.

The cleric ruled out the possibility of entering Parliament as a coalition partner, asserting the independence of JUI-F’s decision-making process.

He announced plans for provincial general council meetings in Balochistan and KP, as well as additional gatherings in Karachi and Lahore, to discuss further strategies.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman extended an invitation to PML-N to join JUI-F in the opposition ranks and pledged to unveil a schedule for a political movement after consultations.

Despite ideological differences with PTI, he said that these were not personal and invited PML-N to sit alongside JUI-F in opposition.

Following a crucial meeting among several parties to form a government resembling the previous PDM government, JUI-F’s absence was notable, indicating a potential fracture in the coalition.

Shehbaz Sharif, offering “Charter of Economy” and “Charter of Democracy” to political parties, expressed willingness to move forward with a “forgive and forget” approach and accepted the split mandate. He was nominated for the prime minister’s slot, while Maryam Nawaz was named as PML-N’s candidate for the Punjab chief ministership.

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