Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Friday opened a new Pandora’s Box regarding the handling of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman’s Azadi March last year.
In a statement, the veteran politician revealed that when JUI-F Ameer Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman came to Islamabad with his caravan of supporters, some people were in favour of cracking down on them hard.
“No one was willing to go to Imran Khan and talk to him [about the dharna issue],” he said, adding that people were asking each other to speak to the premier but not willing to do it themselves.
He said that former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi was not even a member of the government’s negotiating committee yet he was asked to speak to the prime minister.
“Elahi met Imran Khan and advised him,” disclosed Shujaat. “He said that if a clash takes place and any person dies, no one will be willing to take responsibility [for it].”
Shujaat said that Elahi told PM Imran that a prime minister has to answer for everything, after which the decision to crack down on the JUI-F rally was delayed.
The PML-Q chief said that his party was targeted with accusations regarding the JUI-F dharna but it was due to the government’s implementation on Elahi’s ‘mutual thinking’ that the issue was resolved peacefully.
Touching upon the heightening tensions at the time, Shujaat said,”A common man can’t even comprehend what the situation at the time was. On the one hand, you had the police and on the other, were madressah students waiting for Maulana Fazl’s orders.”
He credited the JUI-F leader by saying that he demonstrated ‘farsightedness’, adding that for the first time in history, police and religious protesters were face to face but no clash took place.
Further praising Fazl, Shujaat said “not even a glass broke” in the JUI-F dharna. “I would advise PM Imran to solve the country’s problems with mutual consultations,” he said. “Everything must be forgotten and efforts must be made [by the prime minister] to solve the country’s problems.”
‘Resolve issues with media’
PML-Q chief also advised PM Imran to solve all problems relating to media with consultations.
He hoped that the media’s issues, especially Jang Geo Media Group’s CEO Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman’s arrest and the PEMRA ban on Channel 24, will be resolved soon.
“One should forget everything else and try to solve the country’s problems,” he said.
Shujaat added that information minister Shibli Faraz can play a leading role when it comes to addressing the problems faced by the Pakistani media.
The PML-Q leader said that he had opposed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif when he wanted to have former editor The News, Maleeha Lodhi, arrested in a sedition case.
“I opposed it and said that it would not send a good message to journalists and the international community,” he said. “I told Nawaz that the results of having Maleeha Lodhi arrested would not be good.”