Fazl’s claim further fuels talk of PTI’s troubles with allies

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Shafaqna Pakistan:As affinity grew between Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, who on behalf of the government met the firebrand cleric several times in recent days to broker an end the latter’s anti-government movement, the JUI-F chief made an astonishing claim on Sunday that the PML-Q was no longer an ally of the ruling PTI.

However, PML-Q leader and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi has refuted any plans to part ways with the government.

In an interview with a private TV channel, the Maulana insisted that Pervaiz had actually endorsed his stance when he left after meeting him.
The cleric also clarified that unlike the PML-Q leader’s claim, he had not struck any deal with the government.

“He [Pervaiz] was speaking from his own perspective. The JUI-F activists will not end their protest until the government steps down,” he added.

Similar to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s prediction, the Maulana also asserted that there would a new prime minister next year.

“I can’t tell you how that will happen, but we won’t rest until he [Prime Minister Imran Khan] resigns.”

The JUI-F chief contended that his ‘Azadi March’ was not a failure and the ‘Plan B’ of his strategy – blocking roads and highways across the country – was actually putting more pressure on the government.

Speculations that the ruling party’s allies are having second thoughts have been rife even before the Maulana’s statement. The PTI has recently drawn flak from the MQM-P for “failing to keep its promises and not releasing funds for Karachi’s development”.

In the case of the PML-Q, they are fuelled by party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin Pervaiz’s different take on the issue of allowing former premier Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment. Being cautious with words, the Chaudhry brothers have opposed the government’s move to place cnditions for removing the ailing Sharif family patriarch’s name from the no-fly-list.

However, Pervaiz has said his party would remain an ally of the PTI.
“What I said [about Nawaz’s travel abroad] was for PM Imran’s own good,” he maintained in a statement.

“Nobody can create misunderstandings between the PML-Q and the PTI.”

The government also tried to dispel the impression about a rift between the PTI and its ally.

Federal Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar told the media that the Chaudhry brothers were “strong allies” of the government and would continue to remain so.

To a question, the minister said the government had never politicised the matter of Nawaz’s health. “The PML-N itself politicised the issue whereas the government has honoured the Lahore High Court’s decision.JUI-F protests

The JUI-F continued to block major thoroughfares in different parts of the country as part of the second phase of its anti-government campaign.

The party blocked Quetta-Chaman Highway in the Qilla Abdullah by staging a sit-in. Addressing the protesters, JUI-F General Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said the achievements of the ‘Azadi March’ would start unfolding soon. “The year 2020 is the year of Imran Khan’s replacement,” he added.

The JUI-F leader said the PML-N and the PPP were part of the opposition and it did not bother his party if they had gained from ‘Azadi March’.