PPP, JUI-F in bitter spat over poll timing

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LAHORE: In an escalating feud, the once-close allies Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday found themselves embroiled in a bitter dispute and traded verbal blows as they took the rhetoric over the election’s scheduling a few notches up.

The JUI-F, igniting the fray, accused the PPP of “running away from elections” on the pretext of its narrative on timely elections. Reacting acerbically, the PPP called into question Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s “anxiety” over the prospects of elections.

Faisal Karim Kundi, secretary information of the PPP, promptly responded to the attack by questioning Maulana’s hesitations towards electoral demands.  He said that his party made its own political decisions “unlike those who yield to somebody else’s instructions to start or end sit-ins”.

Taking a swipe at JUI-F for approving the notorious LFO (Legal Framework Order), Kundi stated, “PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto endorses a level playing field, while those who benefit from the LFO are afraid of such fairness.”

He further expressed confidence that, with the support of the people, Bilawal Bhutto would be elected as prime minister.

The war of words came just days after Bilawal Bhutto condemned the JUI-F for supporting a potential delay in elections.

The PPP chairman had criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for allegedly favouring the postponement of the general elections by more than three months. However, his disapproval was not solely reserved for the PML-N; he also took issue with Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s questioning of holding elections in winter.

During a speech in Karachi, Bilawal had voiced his concern, saying, “One [PML-N] says that fresh delimitation is crucial for the next elections, and the other [JUI-F] questions the possibility of polls in January and February due to harsh winter. The people of Pakistan now should know and identify all those who are running away from elections.”‘Ruckus to avoid participation in polls’In its response on Wednesday, the JUI-F spokesperson asked the PPP to reveal its true agenda and stop attacking its coalition partners. He questioned the hurry in Bilawal’s actions.

“Why this haste? May Allah bless Bilawal with long life; eventually, he will become the prime minister,” he stated.

The spokesperson claimed that the PPP won a seat in Larkana during the 2018 elections as a result of a “level playing field”.

Furthermore, the spokesperson stated that they supported the census because they saw a potential advantage in it and asserted that the “ruckus” surrounding early elections was merely a pretext to avoid participating in them.

The JUI-F spokesperson also pointed out the astonishment at the irritability displayed when requesting fairness and expressing concerns about weather conditions.

“This irritability over demanding a level playing field and raising concerns over weather conditions is astonishing,” the JUI-F spokesperson said.

The spokesperson further suggested that the PPP should start its election campaign early to avoid any future complaints about insufficient time.

‘Pakistan needs Bilawal’

Meanwhile, in a separate media talk held earlier in the day, PPP leader Sharjeel Inam Memon asserted that his party was the only viable solution to the multitude of crises currently burdening Pakistan.
“Pakistan needs PPP… Pakistan needs Bilawal Sahab,” Memon stated confidently during the press conference.

Memon went on to claim that, unlike other political entities, the PPP does not possess a solely selfish agenda and genuinely desires to work for the betterment of the general population.

To support his claim, Memon recalled various development projects initiated during his party’s past term, applauding the exceptional performance of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP’s prominent figure and former foreign minister.

He demanded that elections should immediately be held in the country. “The public should be given the right to use their mandate and elect a political party which should then steer the country out of crises,” he added.

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