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Fazl terms Amendment 'collective suicide attack'

Terming the 21st constitutional amendment a collective suicide attack on democracy, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazl-ur- Rehman announced that his party would stage a D-Chowk-like protest if the government failed to address his party's reservations pertaining to the amendment.

He was talking to media persons after chairing a meeting of the leaders of various religious parties here on Thursday to discuss the possible consequences of the 21st constitutional amendment as well as the Army Act. The JUI-F chief said that although all parties that took part in the meeting severely denounced the Peshawar tragedy; at the same time they felt that the newly-adopted amendments were a "collective suicide attack" on democracy by parliamentary parties.

Fazl said his party had certain concerns and reservations after the amendments made in the Constitution, adding that constitutional experts should be consulted so that the pros and cons of the amendment could be discussed. "We demanded a law which is universal clearly defining the parameters of terrorism and an effective tool to eliminate terrorism. Our demand is that there should be an unambiguous definition of terrorism and extremism," he maintained.

He added: "A seminar will be held in Lahore on January 22 which will be attended by all national leaders so that a consensus can be evolved on the 'discriminatory law. The country cannot afford any division in any case." "Our stance against terrorism should be understood. Terrorists have been given an escape route through this law, for instance if any terrorist shaves his beard off and takes off his turban renaming himself as Saulat Mirza or Ajmal Pahari then such terrorists would not be presented before the military court."

Responding to a question, Fazl said that in case his party's demands were not accepted the situation could lead towards a 'D-Chowk-type protest'. Responding to another question regarding the reaction of PPP's Senator Raza Rabbani, he said that each and every lawmaker's conscience felt the same as Rabbani's, but it was only he who expressed publicly what he felt."

Answering another question, the JUI-F chief made it clear that his party did not want to save those who had been sentenced to death while committing terror acts in the name of religion or sect, but he was also seeking action against those who were committing terror acts on grounds other than religious and sectarian. The JUI-F chief said the world is unable to define what constituted terrorism and extremism.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015