Elections roundup: MMA in shambles and manifestos out at last

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The grand hopes of a conservative alliance are now looking more shattered than ever before. The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal is falling apart. New reports have revealed that the JUI-F and the JI will be fielding different candidates in FATA.

The MMA had been a strange, almost politically unnatural coalition this time around. The JUI-F and the JI do not have much in common. For a long time, the Jammat was the leading partner of the PTI government in KP. The JUI-F, was a staunch government party, and a constant threat to the stability of that KP coalition government.

The common link between the two is that they are religious political parties. That makes their alliance a little more understandable. For all their differences, the JUI-F and the JI represent the old, traditional Deobandi brand of Islamic democratic politics. What we have seen this time around is that the powers that be seem to be backing a different shade of religious politicians. For the first time Brelvi political activism has come to the fore and with some serious zeal ala TLYR. Also entering electoral politics are forces like the MMA. These are much more potent, and much more dangerous, forces than something like the JUI-F or the JI.

Sure, the MMA is more than willing to cooperate with the establishment, in fact, they might even have their blessing. But they aren’t exactly the favoured ones anymore.

Ardent but more moderate political Islamists might have been pinning their hopes on the MMA. Together, the two could have had some serious gains in KP. But with internal squabbles going nowhere, the MMA is falling apart. The following they might have had looks set to evaporate, or at least split along the old lines, and the participation of the MMA ticket seems more for old time’s sake than anything else.

PREPARING FOR THE SHARIFS:

The call has been made. Lahore airport will be shut down and Mian Nawaz will be shuttled to Islamabad soon as he lands. Meanwhile the League is preparing people to head over there. Captain Safdar managed to create quite the scene when arrested. The League’s support base does not fill the jails types, but they aren’t pansies either. Let’s see how they respond to being separated from their leader.

MANIFESTOS OUT:

Imran Khan finally launched the PTI’s manifesto on Monday, meaning that the three major parties have thrown their promises out for scrutiny. What is interesting this time is that the manifestos are ideological. The League promises empowering the voter, Bilawal promises leftist policies and Imran promises an Islamic welfare state.