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Immediate revival of MMA not in sight

ISLAMABAD: By quitting the PPP-led government, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam of Maulana Fazlur Rehman has at last met a condition set by Jamaat-i-Islami and some other religio-political groups for the revival of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), but the JI is still sceptical about the resurrection of the alliance.

Immediate revival of MMA not in sightOne of the main hurdles in the revival of the nine-party religious alliance was the difference of opinion between the JI and JUI over the issue of participation in the 2008 election.

The Jamaat had boycotted the election, but the JUI had not only contested it but later joined the PPP-led government.

An effort was made six months ago by religious party leaders to revive the MMA, but several meetings between the top leadership of JUI-F and JI failed to bring any positive results.

The Jamaat had made JUI’s withdrawal from the government as a prerequisite for the revival of MMA and Maulana Fazl had asked JI to accept that its unilateral decision to boycott the polls was a mistake that led to the defeat of pro-Islamic candidates.

Observers are of the opinion that after the JUI decision the ball is now in JI’s court.

“We have been informed about the death, but the burial is yet to take place. Remember, in our country the dead sometimes rise up,” JI deputy chief Liaquat Baloch told Dawn.

“May Allah guide them and give them courage to stand by their decision,” he said when asked about the possibility of revival of the religious alliance.

Mr Baloch said it was good that Maulana Sahib had now realised that his party had been deceived by the government and that his decision to join the coalition was wrong.

He said his party was closely monitoring the development and would devise its strategy accordingly.

But he ruled out the possibility of immediate revival of the MMA, saying a lot of work still needed to be done.

The formal contact between the two parties was established in May in the wake of a three-day conference organised by the Deobandi leadership in Lahore in April as part of an initiative to reconcile religious parties.

Political analysts are of the opinion that the MMA’s revival is not an easy task as JUI-F and JI do not trust each other.

Sources said that during a meeting between leaders of the two parties held at the residence of Maulana Fazl, some of his associates had also expressed their desire to quit the government.

The sidelining of main political parties by former president Pervez Musharraf had benefited the MMA in the 2002 election.

The first time in the country’s political history, religious parties had managed to form governments in two provinces and bagged over 20 per cent seats in parliament.

The PPP and PML-N, which were in the opposition at that time, used to dub the MMA “Mullah-Military Alliance” and accused the military establishment of supporting it.

The analysts believed that the establishment could play an active role in reviving the MMA in a bid to counter the mainstream liberal political parties.

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