Move for roundtable conference welcomed by JUI-F
ISLAMABAD: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) cautiously welcomed on Saturday the initiative taken by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to unite all political parties on a national agenda as it expressed apprehensions on the possible outcome of the proposed roundtable conference.
Talking to reporters after meeting an MQM delegation headed by Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that similar conferences and activities in the past had failed to produce any significant results.
He welcomed the MQM’s move of contacting the country’s political leadership in an effort to bring them on one platform but said JUI’s Majlis-i-Shoora would take the final decision about participation in the roundtable conference after deliberations.
The JUI-F chief endorsed the MQM’s viewpoint that the country was facing serious challenges which needed to be met with national unity and said his party had always stressed the need for unity.
He regretted that decisions of the previous all parties’ conferences and resolutions adopted by parliament had not been implemented and expressed the hope that the MQM would also work for their implementation.
Dr Sattar reiterated his party’s stance and emphasised the need for unity among all the political parties for the greater good. “We need to start working on solving issues now to ensure a better future.”
He said MQM believed that the issues of improving the economy, resolution of the energy crisis and elimination of sectarianism should top the agenda of the conference.
The MQM delegation comprised Syed Haider Abbas Rizvi, Nasreen Jalil, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Zahid Mehmood Malik and Admiral (retd) Nishat.
Maulana Ataur Rehman and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri assisted the JUI-F chief in the meeting.
The MQM has already held similar meetings with PPP co-chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari, Jamaat-i-Islami leader Syed Munawwar Hassan, Awami National Party’s Senator Haji Adeel and Senator Zahid, Pakistan Muslim League-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Sunni Tehrik leaders and received a positive response from them on its initiative.
In a recent speech, MQM chief Altaf Hussain had hinted at some unspecified dangers to the country’s integrity and security.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Rizvi said the MQM had been meeting the political parties keeping aside its political biases and differences only for the sake of national security.
In reply to a question, he dispelled a perception that the MQM’s initiative was aimed at delaying the general elections. “We can only pray for those who have doubts in their minds about our sincere efforts,” he said.
When contacted, Zahid Malik said the MQM had also sent requests for meetings with leaders of the PML-N and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf. The PTI had informed the MQM that Imran Khan was expected to return from abroad in a couple of days after which a date for the meeting would be announced, he said.
Mr Malik said the MQM had launched its efforts to unite the political forces on a national agenda with all sincerity which was evident from the fact that the party started its campaign by contacting the ANP, JI and Sunni Tehrik, the parties which were considered its rivals.
He said the date for the conference would be announced after meetings with all political parties concluded.
Mr Malik said Altaf Hussain in his speech had hinted at possible internal and external threats to the country in near future and stressed the need for holding a roundtable conference to create a broad consensus among the parties, both inside and outside parliament.
He said the consensus was essential because the MQM believed that in the next elections the parties would receive a split mandate and it would be difficult for any single party to resolve the crises facing the country.