—Fazl says Nawaz to decide about attending APC after consulting Shehbaz Sharif
—Former premier reluctant to meet Zardari over PPP’s role post July 25 polls
LAHORE: No headway was made during the meeting between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who failed to convince the former on Sunday here in Lahore to attend the All Parties Conference (APC) to be hosted by the latter, according to media reports.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman met the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader at his Jati Umra residence to convince him to attend the APC scheduled for October 31.
Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz and senior PML-N leader Pervaiz Rashid also attended the meeting between Nawaz and Fazl, which lasted for two hours. PML-N, however, has agreed to send a high-level delegation to attend the conference.
Meanwhile, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman told media that Nawaz Sharif will decide whether to attend the APC or not after holding consultation with his brother and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, who is in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody for his involvement in Ashiana Housing Scheme case.
He said that PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz and other members of the family were not permitted by the NAB authorities to meet the detained leader of the opposition. He added that he did not see a reason why Nawaz and Zardari should not sit together and discuss matters.
Fazl further said that fundamentally, they do not think that the government is legitimate, as it has a ‘fake mandate’, adding that there can be contention over political issues but the matters of the public take precedence.
The JUI-F chief said that they were focusing now on the social and economic issues which the people of the country were facing.
While responding to a question regarding the alleged Israeli jet arriving in Pakistan, Fazl said that the government had yet not given a clear answer and technical details were given so the issue cannot be clearly comprehended. “I already said if PTI government is formed then it will take side with the Jewish lobby,” said Fazl.
Earlier, Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that they had agreed to attend the APC hosted by Maulana Fazl. Moreover, Nawaz has been reluctant to hold a one-on-one meeting with Zardari, following the reservations over PPP’s role in the July 25 polls.
Zardari had further said that neither he needs Nawaz Sharif nor does the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo needs him. He had added that a meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif could be possible in a meeting of the APC being proposed by Fazlur Rehman.
Moreover, media reports stated that Nawaz during the meeting told Fazl that he has not initiated political activities since his release and thus cannot immediately meet Zardari.
“Shehbaz is now the party president and he is currently in NAB’s custody which is why he could not be consulted over the matter,” Nawaz was further quoted as saying. “The PML-N president will attend a National Assembly session on Monday where we will consult him over APC and will inform you regarding the decisions taken,” the former premier told the JUI-F chief as per reports.
Furthermore, Nawaz reportedly said, “PML-N does not immediately want to be part of any movement which is anti-government. The government is digging their own grave and their performance is in front of everyone so we want to give them the opportunity to show their failures to the nation.”
Nawaz also expressed reservations over PPP’s role in PTI forming the government in Punjab, reports stated.
Earlier, it was reported that Fazl was making efforts to persuade the former premier to attend the APC, adding that the JUI-F chief is also expected to call on Nawaz on Sunday and hold a discussion in this regard.
PML-N members, on the other hand, said that if Nawaz met Zardari, then it would only be at the APC and the former premier would seek an assurance from Fazl regarding PPP’s support.
It is pertinent to mention here that Zardari had met Fazl at his residence a few days ago, where the two figures had agreed to summon the APC.
Fazl, however, had said that a date for the conference would be announced after consultation with Nawaz.
Zardari, however, said that the PPP is not interested in toppling the PTI government.
“I don’t want to topple the government rather I want the PTI to fail and step down from the office itself,” he said.