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September 25, 2020

From Maulana’s ‘meeting’ to Nawaz’s frustration

National

September 25, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid on Thursday claimed Maulana Fazlur Rehman had a one-on-one meeting with Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. However, according to sources, the meeting the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief had last year in connection with his sit-in was not with the army chief but with another ‘very important person.’

In November 2019, Maulana Fazlur Rehman disclosed about ‘conditions’ due to which the opposition’s Azadi March sit-in was called off. “I was assured that a change would come in the month of December. I was assured that new general elections would be held in the next three months,” the JUI F chief said according to media reports.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also told the media that he had called off his party’s anti-government sit-in in Islamabad after he was assured that Prime Minister Imran Khan would resign, followed by fresh elections.

“I ask [Punjab Assembly speaker and PML-Q leader] Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to disclose the secret… the secret that I was assured that the prime minister would resign and free and fair elections would be held within three months of his resignation,” the JUI-F chief had told reporters in Lahore.

The Maulana was referring to the ‘reconciliatory role’ played by Elahi in ending the two-week-long anti-government protest. After calling off the sit-in, which the JUI-F chief had described as Plan A of his movement to dislodge the government, he had promised to move on to Plan B by blocking major thoroughfares across the country. But the protests fizzled out after failing to maintain a momentum.

Regarding the PML-N's contacts with the establishment, The News on August 12 reported certain critical issues in its story titled “Maryam Nawaz is now cautious, careful”. After a long hiatus, Maryam Nawaz had re-appeared on the political scene on August 12 with an attack on Prime Minister Imran Khan and NAB.

She, however, was careful not to utter a word against the powers that be. In the same story, it was disclosed: “Notwithstanding what the PML-N leaders portray and what they claim, many senior party leaders are not only in contact with those who matter, but they also feel happy about it.”

The story added: “More and more PML-N leaders have realized what their limits are and how they could regain power. In the past, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan used to be the main contact person between the PML-N and the powerful quarters. But now it is for the powers that be to contact whoever they want from within the PML-N.”

It was reported that Shahbaz Sharif had his own contacts, Khawaja Asif too became important in the party for his connections. Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was also known in the party for the same reason of having good ingress among power brokers.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was approached too but his reluctance to become a party to any ‘talks’ pushed him into a weaker corner among the enthusiasts about any possible deal. It was also reported by this newspaper that almost everyone in the top PML-N hierarchy was in touch with the powers that be at some level.

A PML-N source told this correspondent that of late the PMLN chief was upset because what had been repeatedly promised to the party did not materialize. It is also learnt that Nawaz Sharif is also upset at some of his senior leaders, who have acted by crossing the ‘party line.