Govt willing to engage with Fazlur Rehman over Azadi March: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday announced the government’s decision to “engage with Fazlur Rehman” in response to the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief’s declaration to march on Islamabad on October 27.


Addressing a media briefing after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) core committee meeting, FM Qureshi said that a small political committee has been formed “to get in touch with Maulana Fazlur Rehman”, which will be headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak.

He said, “we are a political party and are fully capable and willing to deliver a political solution to political matters.”

If anything the JUI-F chief says during the resultant talks “has political weight, we are ready to listen to it and if a reasonable solution emerges, we will accord that priority,” said the foreign minister.

“It is not that we have any fear, I must lay stress on this,” said Qureshi, adding, “If someone thinks that with a dharna, governments can be sent packing then we have a 126-day experience in this […] we are not novices in the matter.”

A political solution to the conflict must be sought, explaining that Pakistan is now fighting for the Kashmir cause on international fora and a unified stance must be presented in that regard, he reiterated.

“October 27 is that despicable day on which Indian forces landed in Srinagar and captured Kashmir,” he said, pausing to lay emphasis on the word to highlight the solemnity that must be accorded to the day.

The government’s Kashmir Cell had therefore decided to observe the day with due respect and in solidarity with Kashmiris, he said.

He added, “so we have to see whether we harm this larger purpose in pursuit of a narrower, local agenda.”


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