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Senate election: MMA components take solo flight

By Javed Aziz Khan
February 10, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and other parties in the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) are not contesting the Senate elections from the platform of the religious alliance but have independently fielded candidates.

JI’s provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan and general secretary Abdul Wasi have submitted nomination papers for a general seat in the Upper House of the Parliament. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and other components of the MMA have also fielded candidates for the Senate poll scheduled for March 3. These candidates are going to contest from the platform of their political parties and not the MMA.

"The JI and other components in the MMA are independent parliamentary forces and are free to contest polls at their own," JI provincial general secretary Abdul Wasi told The News. He added the JI provincial chief and he had filed nomination papers for the upcoming Senate polls.

Abdul Wasi said the MMA was going to form its central cabinet on February 15 after which the provincial bodies would be set up. After submitting his nomination papers, the JI provincial chief said in a statement that his party would evolve a strategy to end horse-trading in the Senate election.

He said horse-trading in the Senate poll had become a cancer but they would fight against it. The MMA ruled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for five years after the religious alliance got majority in the provincial assembly in the 2002 general election. The JUI-F was the major coalition partner with the top slot of the chief minister and important cabinet portfolios.

The JI was given the slot of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker while JI chief Senator Sirajul Haq was then made senior minister in the provincial cabinet. Sirajul Haq later quit the cabinet to focus on his responsibilities as provincial chief of his party.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S), which was part of the MMA, is not likely to join the religious coalition as it has hinted at supporting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the general election. The JUI-S chief has submitted nomination papers for the Senate as an independent candidate and expects support from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The JI is negotiating matters with other parties, including PTI since it is unable to win any seat in Senate with its eight MPAs in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. In return, the JI will have to support candidates of other parties in other categories.

The JI is currently a junior partner in the PTI-led KP government with three of its MPAs in the provincial cabinet. The party leadership has planned to quit the KP government after the formation of the MMA in coming days. As per the commitment, the JI will quit the provincial government while JUI-F will leave the federal government to contest the coming general election from the MMA platform.