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ISLAMABAD: While expressing serious security concerns ahead of the February 8, 2024 general elections, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman, Thursday, said that his party will hold Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja responsible if any harm caused to JUI workers during electioneering.

Addressing a press conference here, Maulana raising serious questions over the judiciary’s involvement in the election process said, “If the chief election commissioner has to issue the election schedule on the court orders, how we can say that the ECP is functioning independently. When we are expressing our concerns, some segments start bullying us that we are running away from the elections”.

He said that an atmosphere of “judicial martial law” has been created in the country, JUI has drawn attention towards the whole situation from poor law and order situation in two provinces and the weather conditions in some parts of the country which will result in lower turnout in the elections.

He said that his party after thoroughly reviewing the countrywide situation has decided to empower the district leadership to take decisions regarding seat adjustment with other political parties and groups.

Responding to a question regarding seat adjustment with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the JUI chief said that talks are underway between the two parties on the subject.

While lambasting the ECP and the Supreme Court of Pakistan, he said three judges summoned the CEC and directed him to file an appeal before the apex court for polls. “If the election schedule was to be issued on the court’s directions, then when will the election commission become independent,” Maulana wondered, terming the current

situation as a “judicial martial law.”

It is pertinent to mention here that following the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s verdict on the appointment of bureaucrats as returning officers, a ruling that led to uncertainty over the much-awaited February 8 general elections, the ECP had filed a petition in the apex court after detailed deliberations the court’s senior judges and government officials, following which the top court ordered that no hindrances should be put forth in the way of polls moving forward.

Maulana further said if political actors’ nomination papers were being snatched, it was “not right”, but noted that nothing wrong was being done to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“It is not a good omen to snatch the nomination papers of any candidate. The people will not cast votes due to the unrest. The provinces are witnessing unrest,” he maintained. Rehman rued, “The country is again on the verge of default.”

JUI-F Emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman said his party was still reeling from the Bajaur blast, which resulted in the deaths of more than 40 workers, and banners were put in cities warning people against participating in JUI-F’s rallies.

The elections will be staged on February 8, 2024, but several political actors have warned that there are security threats to the polls and given the recent rise in terrorism, they demanded that the law and order situation should be conducive.

“Cautioning against security threats does not mean that we’re against elections. I have struggled for elections for more than three years; it is my right that my party is given a good security environment,” Maulana said.

Speaking about Afghanistan, Rehman stated, “The stability in Afghanistan is the need of the hour for Pakistan. We will restore the ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Underscor-ing the importance of following international laws, he said, “There is a dire need to end the differences between the neighbouring countries by using the international laws.”

He also expressed serious concerns over the ongoing Israeli onslaught on Gaza and the global community’s inaction, saying that the Hamas resistance has put Palestine at the center of attention globally. The JUI chief said that the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah while rejecting the creation of Israel had declared it as an illegal entity. He added that some local and global forces in the recent past installed a government in Pakistan to accept Israel but JUI and other partners resisted the move and did not let

them succeed in their nefarious designs.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman said that Pakistan’s DNA consists of not accepting the two-state solution of the Palestine issue, saying that Israel has committed countless war crimes in Gaza by killing innocent people and the global

community must take it seriously.

Israel has murdered thousands of Palestinian children as well as thousands of women and civilians. He said that Israeli authorities had imagined that the Palestinian freedom movement would be intimidated by the military might of Israel, but it did not work as Israel’s strength and arrogance have been destroyed by the resistance forces.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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