KARACHI: Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Maulana Fazlur Rehman, was elected President of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) – an alliance of five religio-political parties – in its meeting in Karachi here on Tuesday.
Liaquat Baloch, General Secretary of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), another important party in the alliance, was elected General Secretary of the MMA. The JUI-F’s Ghafoor Haidry and Islami Tehreek Party’s Allama Arif Wahidi were elected as Deputy Secretaries of the alliance. Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) President Shah Owais Noorani got the slot of central spokesman. Alama Sajid Mir was elected head of the manifesto committee, whereas Alama Shabier Maismi was elected secretary finance.
The alliance formed in 2002 in the wake of the US invasion of Afghanistan, split in 2005 and was revived on Nov. 9, 2017 in Lahore but formally announced on Dec. 14, 2017 at Karachi. Flanked by Jama’at-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, Jamiat Ahle Hadith President Sajid Mir, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) chief Maulana Owais Noorani and others, the newly elected president of the alliance told a post-meeting media briefing that the alliance will soon announce organizations up to district levels across Pakistan. “Islam is the religion of peace and we, through the platform of the MMA, want to defeat the mindset which spreads extremism,” Rehman said.
“Majlise-Amal is the voice of the oppressed; we will stand for oppressed people. Minorities of Pakistan have equal rights and we want to give them their due rights. We will stand for them,” he said, adding that the MMA will begin its new journey with these aims. JI chief Sirajul Haq said that the mafias don’t want to see an Islamic government in Pakistan, “but we are determined to make Pakistan a welfare and prospering Islamic democrat state,” the JI chief said.
Analysts in Pakistan see an uphill task ahead for the religion political parties. Mazhar Abbas, a Karachi based analyst, said gaining 2002- like electoral success will not be easy. “The anti-US sentiments were at an all-time high before the 2002 general elections, which the religious parties exploited to not only form a provincial government in KP but also secured a good position in Balochistan and Karachi.”
Although the JUI-F had been able to retain its popularity, JI faced a continued downfall, Abbassaid, adding: “JI has found in the revival of the MMA an opportunity to keep itself relevant in electoral politics. Several JI candidates have forfeited their security deposit in most of the past by-elections.” In Balochistan, the alliance can get seats, said Abbas.