ISLAMABAD: Despite putting forward odd demands, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) is compelled to include Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in the federal government.Having acquired enough seats to form the federal government, PML-N sources say the party wants JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on board so that he can carry out negotiations with the Taliban in order to ensure peace in the country.
Understanding the importance of his position, Fazl has asked the PML-N chief for the lucrative housing ministry, alongside the chairmanship of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) for his party and leadership of the Kashmir committee for himself.
“Every coalition government has to satisfy its partners,” a PML-N leader said. “It is not necessary to fulfil all of his [Fazl’s] demands and we are negotiating to bring him at a mutually acceptable decision.”
Nawaz is willing to include Maulana Fazl in the cabinet, so that he can bring the Taliban to the negotiating table, he added “however, they are yet to reach a win-win deal.”
Post-May 11 elections, JUI-F tried its best to form a provincial government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with the support of PML-N, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao’s Qaumi Watan Party and successful independent candidates. However, Nawaz Sharif did not give Fazl the go-ahead.
In Balochistan too, the party tried to form a coalition government. However, after failing to woo other parties, JUI-F would sit in the opposition benches.
JUI-F secretary general Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, who is heading the four-member negotiating committee of JUI-F, said the pace of the negotiation process from PML-N’s side is slow. He said there was a meeting six days ago but there has been no follow-up ever since.
“It is obvious that JUI-F will ultimately join the PML-N government after a give and take approach,” Haideri said.
He added his party was not interested in the Kashmir committee or governorship of a province, but they have urged PML-N to solve pressing issues like the energy crisis, violence in the country and the economy’s revival.
PML-N senior leader Pervez Rashid, who is also part of the negotiation team, claimed that talks are moving ahead successfully.
Our party, he said, has the required strength to form the government, even then, we wish that maximum political forces be part of the federal government to address national issues.
He, however, said that there is no demand from the JUI-F side which we think is difficult to meet.
He added PML-N would hold another meeting next week to come to a mutually acceptable conclusion.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2013.