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JUIF to Abstain from Presidential Election

MQM-P says it is willing to negotiate with PPP for support to Asif Ali Zardari

by Staff Report

File photo courtesy JUIF

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday announced his party will not participate in the vote for the presidential elections, adding he has already conveyed this to all leaders of the ruling alliance who have visited him to garner his support.

The JUIF has rejected the results of the 2024 general elections, maintaining it was denied its fair share of seats in Khyber-Pakhtunkwha. While it has yet to formally join the protest movement of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the same regard, it has made clear it does not regard the current Parliament as legitimate. The party, earlier on Sunday, similarly refused to participate in the vote for the prime minister, abstaining from the process.

To a question on who he supported for the upcoming presidential election, the Maulana said his “personal wish” was to see opposition candidate Mahmood Khan Achakzai defeat the PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari, but stressed this was not a party decision. “If the party decides to abstain from the voting, my wish doesn’t matter. The party decision is supreme over personal wishes,” he added.

The JUIF chief also rejected any possibility of his party joining the ruling coalition in the center, maintaining it would sit on the opposition benches. “Our friends [leaders of PMLN and PPP] approached us and held meetings,” he said. “We met them, gave them due respect and argued our case before them. I am sure that they would be convinced now and won’t ask us again [to join government]. We would be sitting on opposition benches and no one should have any doubt about this,” he added.

Maintaining he considered the Feb. 8 polls as “rigged and controversial,” he specifically referred to the provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan as ones where the mandate was “bought” with large sums of money. In both provinces, the PPP emerged as the majority party.

“This doesn’t mean that we are satisfied with the election results in KP or other parts of the country,” he continued. “The establishment came up with a weird plan distributing mandate on its own ignoring people’s will and votes. We were against this plan and weren’t part of this sale purchase game so we lost the elections,” he said. He also clarified that it was too soon to suggest any “grand alliance” of opposition parties in the offing.

The former PDM chief also blamed “international powers” for his party’s loss in the elections, claiming they were unhappy over his support of the Afghan Taliban and Hamas.

Separately, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) also said it had yet to reach any decision on the presidential election, with senior leader Farooq Sattar saying they were willing to discuss the matter with the PPP. If the PPP contacts them, he added, the MQM-P would present its demands and seeks answers on the alleged misuse of budgetary allocations in Sindh.

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