JUI-F faces internal turmoil, expels four rebel leaders

By Abdullah Zahid.

LAHORE/DI KHAN: One of Pakistan’s main opposition parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F), on Friday sacked four senior members of the party who had disapproved of the decisions taken under Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s leadership as part of the opposition’s anti-PTI government movement, an official said.

The PDM is an alliance of 11 opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and JUI-F, which was formed in September to start a countrywide campaign to topple Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government and hold new elections.

The expelled JUI-F leaders — former Council of Islamic Ideology chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan and Maulana Shuja-ul-Mulk — last week criticized the party’s involvement in the PDM, with Sherani saying that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman joined the anti-government alliance for “personal gains.”

On Sunday, Sherani said that the PDM cannot topple Khan’s government. He also took a jibe at the JUI-F leader himself who he said was “selected,” in reference to Rehman’s and PDM’s claim that Khan was not elected in 2018 but “selected” by state agencies.

Sherani had also called for diplomatic ties with Israel.

Other expelled leaders had also raised their voices against the anti-government movement, which after a series of mass rallies in planning a long march on Islamabad if Khan does not resign by Jan. 31.

“The party’s central executive committee has made a unanimous decision,” JUI-F spokesman Maulana Muhammad Ghauri said in a statement, referring to the expulsion of the four senior party members.

He added that the party has “no link to any statement or opinion of the expelled leaders.”

Despite an invitation extended by former president Asif Ali Zardari, the JUI-F chief will not attend the 13th death anniversary programme of slain Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto on Dec 27.

On behalf of Fazlur Rehman, a five-member delegation of the party comprising Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Abdul Raziq Abid Lakho, Maulana Siraj Ahmad Shah Amroti, Maulana Saud Afzal and Maulana Abdullah Mehr will participate in the anniversary.

The refusal to attend the gathering by Fazl comes at a time when the JUI-F is facing internal turmoil following the expulsion of its top leaders, including Maulana Sheerani, who questioned the JUI-F’s commitment to the party.

Meanwhile, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in Naudero on Friday, two days ahead of the scheduled programme of his slain mother while his aunt MPA Faryal Talpur was already there to supervise arrangements, said the sources.

Former PPP senator Farhatullah Babar on Saturday urges Molana Fazlur Rehman to attend the tomorrow’s rally in Larkana by PPP.

“On way to Larkana. Welcome leaders of all parties to the jalsa Sunday in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh to commemorate Shaheed Benazir’s martyrdom anniversary,” Farhatullah Babar tweeted.

“Urge Moulana F Rahman Sb to also attend. It will stop many a tongue from wagging,” he said.

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