Real power rests with establishment in Pakistan – Fazlur Rehman


The Statement

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl), has said that political leadership in Pakistan is powerless as the real power rests with the powerful establishment. This is a veiled reference to the security establishment of Pakistan. The Maulana gave these remarks on November 12 while speaking to a local newspaper in Islamabad.

Background

On Nov. 1 of this year, a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UVA) fired a missile killing Hakimullah Mehsud, the dreaded commander of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – in the country tribal area.

The death of the declared terrorist – Mehsud – generated a debate across the country. Some even believed that the US carried out the missile strike with the tacit support of the Pakistan security establishment.

Just weeks before the drone attack on the TTP chief, all the political parties in Pakistan had authorized the prime minister to negotiate a peace agreement with the militants and find out a peaceful solution to ongoing violence in the country. The government also started giving an impression that the US targeted Mehsud when he showed readiness to resolve the conflict peacefully with the regime.

The Check 

Truth Tracker contacted Jan Achakzai, spokesman of JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, to find out the basis for Mualana Fazalur Rehman’s statement.

Achakzai pointed out that Maulana’s JUI-F doubted the claims made by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that a three-member delegation of peace negotiators was leaving for dialogue with Taliban militants when the US eliminated Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike.

“In fact, the federal government was not serious at all in initiating a peace process with Taliban militants, perhaps because it hasn’t received green signal from the powerful military establishment,” says Achakzai.

Maulana believes, as stated by Achakzai, had the politicians been powerful enough to take independent decisions, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would have initiated the dialogue process with Taliban shortly after getting unanimous mandate in the All Parties Conference.

“Elements in the Pakistani establishment don’t want peace and stability in the country,” he said. The government should also come clean on whether it feels empowered enough to take independent decisions or not.”

Independent Viewpoints

Talking to the Truth Tracker, a leading political analyst, Rasul Bakhsh Rais, said the Pakistani politicians wanted selective authority and power.

The politicians are empowered enough to protect their personal interests, but pretending to be impotent when it comes to taking decisions for the betterment of the country and the people, said Rais.

He said the political leadership is elected by the people through votes. “And if a political leader feels he doesn’t have power to do his job properly, then he had better go back to the people and seek a fresh mandate,” Rais said.

“No politician has ever resigned for being powerless but every one is pretending to be impotent,” he said.

The national parliament is the body of power with authority to make and implement laws. “The elected representatives should exercise their powers instead of passing the buck on to the security establishment as an excuse for not doing their job properly,” he said.

Harris Khalique, an Islamabad-based political analyst, said democracy in Pakistan is yet to take its roots and agreed that the elected political leadership does not have the powers or authority to take independent decisions, particularly on issues related to security. “Had the politicians been powerful enough, there would have been no martial law in the country,” he added.

Khalique said he believed that it would take time to strengthen the parliament and political institutions in the country. “There are certain subjects, like foreign policy and matters related to security, where politicians are still considered to be pariahs,” he said.

Our Ruling

Considering the stance of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s spokesperson and independent viewpoints, Truth Tracker rules that the statement is half true.

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