JUIF chief suggests PTI-led government merely ‘taking credit’ for talks with the banned TTP, while ‘someone else’ is in-charge of negotiations
The PTI-led government’s proposal to utilize Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general elections is “unacceptable,” Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Fazlur Rehman reiterated on Monday, stressing that such machines had already been banned in other countries over security concerns.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, the opposition leader recalled that the Election Commission of Pakistan had already issued 37 objections to the use of EVMs that had yet to be resolved. Alleging that the PTI wanted to rig the next elections with the EVMs, he accused the ruling party of “misguiding” youth ahead of the 2018 elections through hollow slogans and empty promises. “The government now wants to mislead overseas Pakistanis through internet voting,” he added.
The JUIF chief called on the security establishment to stop supporting the incumbent “fake” government. State institutions were maligning their own image by supporting a “selected” prime minister, he added.
On the matter of Prime Minister Imran Khan announcing that the government was “talking” with some groups of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in a bid to secure reconciliation, Rehman alleged that this was an exaggeration. “Someone else is negotiating with these groups and the government is trying to take the credit,” he said, without clarifying who this “someone” might be. “The government is not part of the process,” he added.
Last week, Khan told TRT World that the government was considering amnesty for members of the TTP who were willing to surrender their arms and accept Pakistan’s Constitution. The statement has provoked mass outrage, with many Pakistanis questioning how the government could forgive a group that has been responsible for thousands of deaths across the country over the past two decades.
To a question, Rehman said the Pandora Papers probe by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had “exposed” members of the federal cabinet, retired generals, bureaucrats and others. He recalled that there had been over 400 influential Pakistanis in the Panama Leaks, but only former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had been targeted for legal action.
“The Pandora Papers has exposed Imran’s kitchen cabinet,” he said, adding that that there were “even more thieves” in the incumbent regime. He noted that this government had used such scandals to defame politicians in the past, adding that the National Accountability Bureau had tried to pressure him through notices as well.
“NAB tried to blackmail me, but we irritably declined to respond to these notices,” he said, adding that a “gang of corrupt” had no right to preside over the accountability of anyone else.