Ghulam Mursalin Marwat
LAKKI MARWAT: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) faced a major setback on Sunday as its key leader Barrister Sher Afzal Khan Marwat announced to quit the party after a grand jirga of thousands of people accorded their consent in favour of his decision.
A meeting of grand jirga was convened by Sher Afzal Khan to seek approval of area elders and people for important decisions like parting ways with JUI-F, joining another political party or local group and contest next general elections for provincial assembly seat. Elders from different union councils of PK-76 and other areas attended the meeting.
Thousands of people raised and clapped their hands in favour of severing ties with religious party when Sher Afzal asked whether he should remain in JUI-F or quit it. People also authorized him to decide at his own about joining other political party or forging an alliance with local groups for coming general elections.
On the occasion, district councilor advocate Salahuddin said that the leaders of JUI-F did not fulfill promises they made with the residents of Lakki Marwat district in general and voters of PK-76 in particular.
“In last general elections we supported JUI-F candidate for PK-76 Munawar Khan and campaigned for his victory”, he claimed, saying that Mr Munawar totally ignored the areas of Achukhel and Begu tribes in uplift works and did not spend a single penny for the betterment of rural population.
He said that the family of Munawar Khan entered the politics for personal and business gains instead serving people.
Another elder Haji Shamal Khan said that the residents of district tried the religious party several times but their hopes of seeing development in their areas dashed and crashed. “We should expect any work of betterment and masses’ welfare from JUI-F in future”, he maintained.
Waheed Aslam Khan, a district councilor from Begukhel ward said that JUI-F leaders had deceived Sher Afzal Khan group in local bodies’ polls in 2015 when advocate Salahuddin was fielded as candidate of JUI-F for the post of district nazim. “We cannot keep continue our affiliations with a party the leader of which are not sincere to us and people of the district”, he added.
A nazim of Samandi village council Malik Abdul Waheed Khan assured that the local government representatives of Kurrum Par Area would support Mr Sher Afzal Khan in his decisions to quit JUI-F and contest next general elections. He asked Mr Khan to join hands with influential Saifullahs and contest elections from PK-76 in independent capacity.
Sanaullah Khan, councilor said that local residents could not trust JUI-F and PTI anymore as both parties were equally responsible to keep the district far from development.
A former nazim Ameer Khan called upon the political elite to stop leg pulling and launch coordinated efforts for the uplift of backward district. He accused the lawmakers of negligence in nsuring use of quality construction material in uplift works including road projects in Kurrum Par Area.
Raees of Eesakhel Haji Muhammad Aslam Khan stressed the need for constituting a committee of elders to take decisions in accordance with future political scenario and help Sher Afzal Khan to join a political party or contest elections in as independent candidate.
Speaking at the jirga meeting, Mr Sher Afzal said that after joining JUI-F in 2008, his family, well wishers and supporters left no stone unturned to strengthen and enabled the religious party to clean sweep 2013 general elections in the district.
“Besides making all sorts of sacrifices I, my family members and supporters spent their own resources to ensure victory of JUI-F candidates including Munawar Khan “, he maintained, regretting that in response his supporters and voters faced deprivations and lacking of basic amenities of life.
He said that he brought the miseries, problems and deprivations of his people matter into the notice of Maulana Fazalur Rehman several times but to no avail. “I need not to remain in a party where I get no respect at all and where the leaders have no time to address the problems of people of my area”, he added.
Mr Khan said that he could not tolerate excesses with the residents of PK-76 anymore at the hands of JUI-F leaders and lawmakers and that was why he decided to part ways with religious party.
He said that he was determined to contest next general elections and that he would throw the heavyweights from poll arena if people supported him.