Showing little flexibility and withdrawing from his earlier position, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman conditionally agreed to end his boycott to attend the proceedings of Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS).
He made the announcement following a series of meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, PCNS Chairperson Senator Raza Rabbani and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman.
He said he would attend the meeting and present his viewpoint in regard to the restoration of NATO supply route.
During his meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, the JUI-F chief had reaffirmed his stance to continue boycotting the proceedings of PCNS.
He, however, changed his mind over insistence of parliamentary figures and took a U-turn to end his boycott. He was of the opinion that he still held on firmly to his stance in connection with the resumption of NATO supply line. He observed, “Our stance is purely in the interest of the country”.
The JUI-F chief explained his position saying that he was against transportation of arms in the garb of NATO supplies. He added, “I will attend the committee meeting scheduled for Thursday and present my reservations in regard to the issue”.
He had been on a boycott of the proceedings of the parliamentary committee which has almost finalized its recommendations in connection with the new terms of engagement with United States and allied forces battling in Afghanistan.
US Ambassador Cameron Munter had also held a meeting with the JUI-F leader to discuss the matter of NATO supply line, seeking his support in this regard. However, Fazlur Rehman refused to change his mind.
An official of the JUI-F said that his party chief agreed to the panel’s meeting on Thursday over request of Senator Raza Rabbani.
He, however, clarified that this would not mean they supported the possible resumption of the NATO supply line. They will present a discussing note in the meeting, he added.
The JUI-F, which cashes in on popular anti-American sentiments, has been adamantly opposing the reopening of NATO supply routes because it does not want to alienate its right-wing vote-bank, especially at a time when parliamentary election is just around the corner.