The defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) is unlikely to be revived any time soon. Differences between two major component parties – Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam – have apparently stalled Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s initiative to revive the defunct alliance of six religious groups that had swept the 2002 elections in two provinces.
The MMA fell apart ahead of the 2008 polls when Maulana Fazl’s JUI-F went against the majority decision of the alliance to boycott the elections under former military ruler Pervez Musharraf.
The cleric-politician has been trying to prevent a second term in power for the Awami National Party (ANP) in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) by forming an alliance with various parties, including JI. However, efforts to revive the alliance suffered a setback when the JUI-F chief alleged that JI’s top leadership was not ‘serious’ about reviving the alliance.
“JI is the main hurdle to the revival the MMA,” said Fazl who wanted to form a grand alliance against the ruling parties in K-P and had been in contact with religio-political parties to chalk out a strategy for the next general elections.
“New alliance or revival of the MMA is impossible until JUI-F quit the government’s support both in the centre and in the provinces,” said JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch. An alliance with the ANP in the next elections also seems tough to pull off because of their differing ideologies, added Baloch.
“We parted ways when JUI-F supported Musharraf,” recalled Senator Prof Khurshid Ahmad, adding that ‘JUI-F’s dual policy’ towards making or breaking the alliance remained ‘undemocratic’.
Political analysts believe that JI, which has no representation in the National Assembly, is in a hurry to be a part of the new political realm. Analysts say the 2008 election boycott would cost JI and it would have no representation in the Senate from March 2012 till March 2015.
“I’m not optimistic about MMA’s revival,” said former senator Razina Alam Khan, who recently quit the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid. “Both parties have different agendas to run their respective political campaigns.”
ANP Information Secretary Senator Zahid Khan was not sure his party would form an alliance with any of the components of MMA in the next elections. “In the current political scenario, it’s difficult to predict future alliances in the province,” Khan said. However, he added that if any political party approached them, the ANP leadership would consider the offer.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2012.