ISLAMABAD - After remaining without portfolios since their induction in the federal cabinet on January 17, JUI-F Secretary General Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Akram Khan Durrani finally secured portfolios of state minister for postal services and federal minister for housing and works respectively.

Meanwhile Usman Ibrahim, state minister for housing and works, was allocated the portfolio of capital administration and development division.

The decision to this effect was taken in the long awaited meeting between Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman wherein the latter came up with a series of complaints against the PML-N government for continuously ignoring them particularly not taking them on board while making policy decisions, sources in JUI-F confirmed to The Nation.

Sources further said that Fazl also came up with the complaint for not allocating portfolios to his party’s ministers in the federal cabinet and requested the PM to resolve the issue lingering for well around last six months.

Sources further informed that the contention over the portfolios of choice was also resolved in the meeting with the prime minister accepting the demand of granting them the ministry of housing and works, which the government was reluctant to dole out to its junior coalition partner.

According to the brief press release issued by the prime minister’s media office, both the leaders discussed overall political situation in the country with specific reference to the Model Town Lahore fiasco and the initiation of the military operation in Waziristan Agency.

“Maulana Fazlur Rehman urged PM Sharif to look after internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan (NW),” a spokesman for JUI-F Jan Achakzai said.

The spokesman said during the meeting that the situation in North Waziristan and the Lahore incident came under discussion and that Fazl urged the PM to hold an independent inquiry into the Model Town deaths.

Sources in JUI-F informed The Nation that Fazl advised the government to evolve broader consensus on contentious issues among the political stakeholders and go soft on the protest programme of Allama Tahirul Qadri.

Sources further informed that Fazl lodged complaint with Sharif for his complete indifference towards JUI-F’s demands and for continuously ignoring them in decision-making process on issues of national importance.

Fazl said that had the government listened to their advice on dealing with Taliban issue the things would have not slipped out of hand and pushed the government to go for an extreme step of full-scale military operation.

It is interesting to note that both the coalition partners are strange bedfellows and since the JUI-F joining the government the relations of both had seen many ups and downs and on several occasions it stretched to the point of break-up.

The contention between the two mainly remained the portfolios of their choice as JUI-F wanted the ministry of housing and works or ministry of communication for their sole federal minister in the federal cabinet Akram Khan Durrani while they also wanted that the ministry to be allocated to their state minister should not have a full-fledged federal minister, meaning thereby that their state minister should also enjoy the status of a federal minister, a source in the government informed, quickly adding that the proposition was not acceptable to the government since the government was not dependent on the alliance and have ample strength in the Parliament to have smooth sailing.

But now in the given situation the government could not lose the support of JUI-F for other reasons and Fazl, a shrewd politician, knows well to exploit the situation and he did it by securing the portfolio of his choice and other demands met as well including the incorporation of their amendments in Protection of Pakistan Amended Ordinance 2014.