PESHAWAR: the Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl have engaged in a war of words with the former blaming the latter’s chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, for the massacre of millions of Pakhtuns and anarchy in the war-torn country. The two parties use to be aliens.
The emerging situation in Afghanistan has turned the friends of yesterday into the foes of today as the Awami National Party and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl have engaged in a war of words with the former blaming the latter’s chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, for the massacre of millions of Pakhtuns and anarchy in the war-torn country.
Confrontation between the nationalist and religious parties started after Fazl, during a public meeting in South Waziristan tribal district on Sunday, felicitated the Afghan Taliban over their military gains in the country.
“Why not congratulate [Afghan] Taliban as they have defeated the US in Afghanistan after 20 years of war? America and its allies (Nato) called them (Taliban) terrorists, but I always called them Mujahid and will do so in future as well,” the JUI-F chief told his supporters, including students of seminaries, in Makeen area of South Waziristan tribal district.
He asked his critics to understand the JUI-F’s stand about the Afghan situation and said his party had been calling for dialogue among warring factions.
Mr Fazl said he had urged the Afghan Taliban to come to the negotiating table despite the recent military gains.
He visited South Waziristan district bordering Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban have launched widespread offensives against President Ashraf Ghani’s government and claimed victories.
JUI-F provincial Abdul Jalil Jan told Dawn that the party’s chief visited South Waziristan after a gap of 25 years.
He said the party’s local chapter had invited Maulana to address a graduation ceremony of students of local seminaries.
The two parties were part of the opposition’s alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement. They had remained the victims of militancy in the country.
Without naming the ANP, Mr Fazl said some people were blindly following America’s policies in the region.
“Don’t expect this from Fazlur Rehman,” he said, adding that nationalists should not teach him how to do politics.
Reacting to the statement of the JUI-F chief, ANP central secretary general Main Iftikhar Hussain said Mr Fazl had the blood of hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan’s Pakhtuns on his hands.
In a statement issued in Peshawar on Monday, Mr Hussain said history couldn’t be distorted as the JUI-F chief and his allies supported Haqqanis and Osama bin Laden to continue turmoil in Afghanistan.
“Your (Fazl’s) hands are soaked in the blood of millions of Pakhtuns and you took financial benefits in the name of jihad in Afghanistan,” he alleged.
The ANP leader said the JUI-F leader was supporting the Afghan Taliban at the behest of the establishment.
He added that former interior minister Naseerullah Babar and a former director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence had revealed in their books that Mr Fazl was the supporter of the Afghan Taliban.
“When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman declared it jihad, while the ANP leaders called it anarchy,” he said.
Meanwhile, ANP central secretary general Mian Iftikhar Hussain addressed a gathering in Durmai Top area of Buner district and said peaceful Afghanistan was vital for peace in Pakistan and rest of region.
He asked the governments of Pakistan, US, China, Iran, Turkey and Russia to play their due role to resolve the Afghan issue.
Mr Hussain claimed that terrorists were regrouping in the country, while the government was withdrawing security from the ANP leadership to leave them at the mercy of terrorists.