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JUI-F,PKMAP leaders met Nawaz Sharif

23 March, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Pakhtun­khwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman held separate meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday.

Official handouts issued by the PM Office said that “matters of national significance and current political situation of the country came under discussion”.

Although there was no mention of military courts in the handouts, sources in the government said the purpose of the meetings was to address the grievances of the two parties and make another effort to woo the allies on the issue as the constitutional amendment bill is still pending before the Senate for approval.

When contacted, Mr Achakzai refused to share the details of his meeting with the prime minister, saying he considered it inappropriate to disclose the conversations held in such meetings.

The PkMAP chief, however, hinted that he had also discussed the issue of Pakistan-Afghanistan ties during the meeting.

Mr Achakzai said it was his considered opinion that terrorism could only be eliminated with the support of people. He said that small nations like Sindhis, Pakhtuns, Balochs and Seraikis were not “conquered people” and were living in a federation under a social contract.

The PkMAP chief said he believed that if democracy was allowed to function in a transparent manner in Pakistan and Afghanistan for five to 10 years, ties between the two countries would improve and they could become very good friends.

He regretted that nobody knew as to who had made the decision to close the country’s borders with Afghanis­tan. Such decisions, he added, should be made through parliament.

The government had managed to get the key bills seeking reinstatement of the military courts passed from the National Assembly, but without the support of the JUI-F and the PkMAP.

Three members of the PkMAP led by Mr Achakzai and independent Jamshed Dasti had voted against the bills whereas the JUI-F members had decided to abstain from the voting, thus foiling the government’s efforts for their unanimous adoption.

The PkMAP members had opposed the bills considering them against the democratic norms and the JUI-F members, who had earlier agreed to support the bills, decided at the last moment to abstain after rejection of its amendments calling for removal of the words “religion or a sect” in the clauses referring to terrorist groups. Despite repeated attempts, no one from the JUI-F could be contacted for comment.

The handout about the prime minister’s meeting with Mr Achakzai stated that “the ongoing development and welfare schemes in Balochistan were also discussed in the meeting”, be­sides discussion on national issues.

It quoted the prime minister as saying during the meeting that development and progress of Balochistan was the priority of the federal government, which was evident from the unprecedented uplift projects initiated in the province over the past three years.

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