Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has invited his former ally JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to become a part of the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and play a role in resolving the political tensions in the country, according to a media report on Friday. Sharif, who is heading a coalition government supported by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party and other smaller parties, visited the residence of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) chief, 70, to enquire about his well-being on Thursday, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The 72-year-old premier also proposed the formation of a committee to address the prevailing political issues and asked Maulana Rehman to join the ruling coalition. Quoting a source in the PM Office, the newspaper said the JUI-F leader was asked to join the ruling alliance and play a role in a proposed committee to resolve political tension prevailing in the country. However, Maulana Rehman refused to join the government, a JUI-F spokesperson said.

"I don't think it's true (that the JUI-F will join the government). Seeking power is not a part of our politics. We already had a

better offer before the formation of the present government," the spokesperson claimed. Maulana Rehman led an opposition alliance, namely the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Imran Khan. The PDM later formed a government at the Centre, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, after the ouster of Imran Khan's government in a vote of no-confidence in April 2022.

The fissures within Pakistan's ruling coalition government have surfaced in recent days with the PPP, a key ally, accusing the ruling PML-N of sidelining its inputs in the preparation of the annual budget and questioning if the Shehbaz Sharif-led government still values its support. 

The PPP expressed its reservations in its parliamentary committee meeting presided over by the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday, ahead of the presentation of the budget for the financial year 2024-25 in Parliament. The PPP has blamed the PML-N government for not taking any inputs from the party while preparing the annual budget and wondered if it still wanted the ally's support.

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