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JUI-F Leader Calls for Fresh Elections in Pakistan, Criticizes Military Interference

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During a press briefing in Islamabad following a meeting of the Central Majlis Shura on Sunday, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman made a strong call for fresh elections in Pakistan and demanded assurances that the military establishment would not interfere in the electoral process.

Rehman denounced the February 8 elections as “rigged and unacceptable,” emphasizing his party’s ongoing opposition to what they perceive as interference by the establishment in electoral matters. He stressed the importance of upholding the integrity of the electoral process and urged that the people’s right to vote be safeguarded, calling on the establishment and intelligence agencies to refrain from meddling in future elections.

Discussions during the meeting also focused on assessing various political affiliations with other parties aligned with JUI-F, viewing these alliances as part of a broader political strategy. Despite ongoing internal divisions within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the failure to appoint a negotiation team, Rehman extended an olive branch to PTI, expressing readiness for dialogue while criticizing the government’s perceived inflexibility in addressing JUI-F’s concerns.

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Touching on national security issues, Rehman highlighted the consequences of Operation Azm-e-Istehkam and noted increased national anxiety and a surge in terrorism since 2001. He criticized government statements on potential actions inside Afghanistan, likening them to Pakistan’s decision to allow US bases post-9/11. Rehman reiterated support for the military in matters of national defence but criticized a recent resolution by the US House of Representatives, labeling it a diplomatic setback for Pakistan and advising the US to refrain from meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

In terms of international issues, Rehman condemned the global silence on Gaza and criticized current Muslim leadership, questioning their legacy for future generations. He also reaffirmed JUI-F’s support for Pakistan-China relations while acknowledging the need to rebuild Chinese confidence in investing in Pakistan.

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