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May 8, 2008

All JUI men to get key positions


May 8, 2008

ISLAMABAD: When Maulana Fazlur Rehman becomes the head of the NA Kashmir Committee, hardly any MNA or MPA of his party, JUI, will be left without a ministry or a parliamentary position.

The Maulana has been informed that he will become the Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Kashmir.The JUI had won just five seats in the Feb 18 parliamentary elections, down from nearly 50 seats that it had clinched in the 2002 polls, because of the break-up of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and the changed political environment. Later, it got Asiya Nasir elected on special women seats, taking its tally to six.

Apart from Fazlur Rehman, all of his five MNAs are being accommodated in official slots, mostly chairmanships of standing committees. The position brings to the chairman an official car with free fuel, an office and the secretarial staff besides the clout for being the head of a house body.

The JUI MNAs include Maulana Mohammad Qasim, Mufti Ajmal Khan, Maulvi Agha Muhammad and Haji Rozuddin apart from Fazlur Rehman and Asiya Nasir. Senior JUI leader Khan Mohammad Sherani, who faced defeat in the Feb 18 elections, is being made Chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC). While Sherani is being given the important position for fully sharing Fazlur Rehman's views in the internal politics of the JUI, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed has been dumped for differing with him on several policy matters.

The story of the "most successful politician" of Pakistan does not end here. In Balochistan, six of 10 JUI MPAs have been made ministers and another deputy speaker while the remaining three are being made chairmen of different committees. Fazlur Rehman recently got JUI nominee, senior party leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, elected as senator from Balochistan although his was not the majority party deserving the seat. But he managed it by involving the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Zardari.

While the JUI has highly small

presence in the National Assembly, it has a huge number, 17 senators, in the 100-member upper house that has created immense parliamentary weight for Fazlur Rehman in the eyes of the lead coalition partner, the PPP, which desperately needs support in the Senate.

Immediately after the results of the Feb 18 elections were announced, Fazlur Rehman acted swiftly to be a part of the next ruling coalition. For the purpose, he started long sessions with the real decision-maker, Zardari, and succeeded in becoming his key partner.

In Fazlur Rehman's opinion, politics is not confined to just chanting slogans and agitating. The ultimate goal of every politician is to get power. He has succeeded despite having a tiny number of MNAs in his pocket.

In the next cabinet expansion, the JUI is going to manage at least another federal ministry. In the ruling coalition, he has emerged as a strong ally of Zardari instead of Nawaz Sharif and has confined his interaction in the coalition to the PPP chief.

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