JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on PM Nawaz Sharif at PM House.—INP Photo
ISLAMABAD: Without a formal agreement with the ruling PML-N, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) announced on Saturday unilaterally that its members would sit on treasury benches in the National Assembly and Senate.
The announcement followed a meeting between JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Though the official handout issued by the Prime Minister’s House after the meeting was silent on the JUI-F’s support for the government, a spokesman for the party said it had decided to sit on treasury benches since the prime minister had “agreed in principle on JUI-F’s priorities”.
The spokesman, Jan Achakzai, said in a statement that the Maulana had presented in writing “all priorities” of the JUI-F to the prime minister at their meeting.
He said the two parties would “mutually decide about other responsibilities, including cabinet berths and committees’ posts through consultation”.
Soon after the May 11 elections, the JUI-F and the PML-N started discussing a power sharing formula and the two parties had constituted committees to finalise it.
Despite having the simple majority required to form government on its own, the PML-N had taken an initiative by inviting the JUI-F to become a coalition partner with the sole purpose of getting the latter’s support in the Senate to carry out legislative business smoothly.
Media reports claimed that the JUI-F had sought chairmanship of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir, besides ministries of housing and religious affairs.
The JUI-F, according to some reports, had expressed its desire to have its man appointed as the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The JUI-F, on the other hand, has denied all such reports and claimed that the party had told the PML-N that it wants to know a clear stand of the government on key issues like militancy in Fata and legislative business on various controversial issues before agreeing to join the government.
The two parties had had a number of meetings at the committee level last month, but there had been no progress in the talks.
Later, the JUI-F had announced its support to PML-N candidates for the offices of the National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker as a goodwill gesture.
After meeting a delegation of the PML-N, the JUI-F announced its support also for Nawaz Sharif in the elections for the prime minister.
Our Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: JUI-F information secretary Maulana Mohammad Amjad Khan said that the party might become part of the PML-N government if its charter of demands was met in true letter and spirit.
He said the JUI-F’s agenda included introduction of an Islamic system based on Islamic laws in the light of Quran and Sunnah.
Another important point of the JUI-F priority was to get the existing interior and foreign policies revised He said though the JUI-F had not pressed the government to give a timeframe for implementing its agenda of priority, it would keep observing the government’s action in this regard.