MMA revives without former key members


A group of religious parties on Thursday announced to revive the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an erstwhile alliance of religious parties, while keeping out two key former allies – the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam faction led by Samiul Haq.
The heads of rightwing religious parties, including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam -Fazl (JUI-F), Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), Tehreek-e-Islami Pakistan (TIP), and Jamiat-e-Ahle-Hadith (JAH), jointly announced the coalition’s revival at a press conference after holding a meeting organised by JUP chief Dr Abulkher Mohammad Zubair.
Speaking on the occasion, Zubair said the meeting had been summoned on his party’s invitation to discuss the issues related to the MMA’s revival. He said the process of reorganising the alliance would begin after Hajj, and the next meeting of the newly-revived coalition would be held under JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman in this regard.
The JUP chief further said that conspiracies were being hatched against the ideological boundaries of the country, and that the nation wanted clerics and religious parties to play their role.
Talking to the media, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman said the alliance was being revived under its old concept of 2002, when it was first formed. He said that it is natural for political parties to change their policies according to their evolving interests.
Responding to a question about JI’s exclusion from the alliance, Fazl said that nothing about the former ally had been discussed in Thursday’s meeting, adding that the JI “could contact the MMA if it wanted to join the alliance”.
Fazl said that the “fire” which started in 2002 in Afghanistan, had also spread into Pakistan, adding that the situation had reached its worst with attacks on the ideological boundaries of the state. He said that the MMA’s constituent parties strongly opposed any military ventures, and would resist and such action, whether it is by the United States in Afghanistan, or by the Pakistani military in the tribal areas of the country. He said that military actions “never provide any sustainable solution to problematic issues”.
In response to another question, Fazl said the MMA “stands neither with the Taliban nor is part of the government”, adding that it “condemns acts of terrorism everywhere, including Quetta, Gilgit-Baltistan, Karachi, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Speaking about the attack on teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai, Fazl said that apart from Malala, Dr Afia Siddiqui was also a symbol of education and peace, and that both should be given due respect, place and justice.
The MMA was a coalition of religious parties formed in 2002. It became the second largest majority party in the National Assembly after the 2002 polls, while forming government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then known as the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), and district government in Karachi. It split in 2005 because of differences between the JUI-F, JUI-S and the JI.
For the coming elections, the Jamaat-e-Islami has finalised seat-to-seat adjustment with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in six constituencies.