SOURCE: Hindustan Times

The naming of Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as head of the newly-formed alliance of opposition parties, which has pledged to unseat the Imran Khan government, has raised eyebrows in Pakistan’s political circles.

Science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry called the JUI-F president an ‘extremist Mullah’ after the hardline Islamist party’s supremo was picked by Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Saturday as its leader.

“Sad Day for Pakistan An extremist Mullah considered Close to terrorist groups of Afghanistan is selected to lead opposition movement against Government. Unlike India where extremists are in Govt, people of Pak never allowed extremists to lead or mainstream politics,” Chaudhry tweeted.

Pakistani Muslim League (N) chief and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Balochistan National Party (BNP) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal were among the attendees of a virtual meeting of PDM during which Rehman was elevated as head of the alliance aimed to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The PDM had announced at its All Parties Conference in September that it plans to launch its protest campaign from Quetta, Balochistan in October. The choice of Quetta may have to do with the popularity that Fazlur Rehman’s party enjoys there. Analysts also say that the party’s street power is immense.

In 2019, JUI supporters held a sit-in at Islamabad for several weeks which was called off after army intervention and assurances. The PDM also plans a similar sit-in if its demands are not met.