Religious parties rule out electoral alliance

Fazlur Rehman’s bid to revive broken alliance of MMA appears unsuccessful.

Our Correspondent August 20, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s plan to revive the broken alliance of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) appears to be in vain after a few leaders from the six religious parties refused to become part of such an alliance in the future. 

Officials of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) told The Express Tribune that they had conveyed it to Rehman that they were not ready to make any formal association for the upcoming parliamentary polls expected next year.

Fazlur Rehman, the head of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), had been trying to convince for alliance all the parties who were part of the MMA before it broke down prior to the 2008 elections.

Six religious groups formed the MMA before the general polls in 2002 and were able to establish independent and coalition governments in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan respectively.

It was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a religious group formed government in any of the provinces.

MMA’s victory was largely due to the anti-American sentiments in Pakistan immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, a year ahead of polls.

The alliance shattered in late 2007 when the JI decided to boycott the election but Rehman did not because he believed to ‘be in the system to change it’.

According to a top leader the JI had assured Rehman support for implementing ‘Shariah’ in Pakistan but added that they would never be part of any formal political alliance.

On the other hand, a leader from JUI-Fazl said his party would like to see all religious parties get together under one banner as they did in 2002 and ‘God blessed them with success’.

But it seems impossible now with the general elections around the corner once again.

JI Deputy Secretary General Liaqat Baloch told The Express Tribune the party had given up the efforts to revive the alliance after realizing that gathering all the political groups on a single electoral platform again was next to impossible.

“We will continue struggling for the implementation of Sharia but becoming part of a formal political arrangement is out of the question,” Baloch added. On the other hand, a spokesperson for JUI-F said the party would like to see the revival of MMA because it was in the best interest of religious groups. But Maulana Muhammad Amjad said there were no high hopes of success due to the response received from the other groups.

Maulana Yousaf Shah, the spokesperson for JUI of Samiul Haq which was also part of the MMA, said his party was not interested in reviving the alliance and would go for elections singlehandedly.

But some apolitical religious leaders were still hopeful of bringing all the groups together in future.

Around 150 leaders representing different Deobandi groups, seminaries and political parties from Karachi to Bajaur are preparing to meet in Lahore after Eid for a conference.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations