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January 14, 2019

2018 election debacle: JI considers quitting MMA before polls in former Fata

Top Story

January 14, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is considering parting ways with the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) to make a solo flight in the upcoming election for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly from the recently merged tribal districts.

JI provincial chapter has submitted a request to the party’s central leadership in this regard and after getting a positive response from there, a formal announcement would be made, said Abdul Wasi, JI provincial secretary general when contacted by The News.

JI head Senator Sirajul Haq recently announced in Lahore that the party would continue its political struggle in an independent capacity. This shows that the JI is no more interested in remaining part of the alliance of the five-party religious parties.

The religious parties had joined hands for contesting the 2018 general elections by reviving the MMA, but they suffered the worst defeat in the polls with the JI as the major loser.

The leading partner in the alliance, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl of Maulana Fazlur Rahman somehow managed to secure a considerable number of seats in the National Assembly and in the provincial assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The JI could win only one seat each in the National Assembly, Sindh Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Apart from the allegations of massive rigging in favour of one specific political party, two topics were mostly discussed in the intra-circles of the JI.

A vast majority of party leaders and workers considered their joining the MMA as one of the major causes of the total rejection of the JI in the July 2018 general election.

A good number of party workers and leaders blamed the strict organizational structure and internal rifts in the party as the leading cause of their failure.

After the general election the MMA became ineffective. The leaders of its major component parties were heard quite frequently that it was an electoral alliance and had become dormant once the polls were held.

Some reports suggested that the JI had received a message from the invisible powerful forces to stay away from the alliance or get ready for more setbacks.

According to a senior member of the party, this forced the JI to think seriously whether to remain part of the MMA or bid farewell to it.

As elections in the erstwhile Fata are drawing near, the JI has started thinking seriously to part ways with the religio-political alliance and contest the polls from its own platform. Asked whether the matter was discussed in the recent meeting of the provincial shura (consultative body) of the party, Abdul Wasi said the issue pertained to the central shura of the party and, therefore, it was not taken up in the meeting.

However, some members of the party raised questions about the issue. They were told that guidance has been sought from the JI central leadership about the future direction of the party and whatever it decided would be followed in letter and spirit.

The elections for 16 seats of the provincial assembly from the newly merged tribal districts are expected to be held in May this year

For the local governments being set up in former Fata, the elections would be held after the promulgation of the new Local Government Act, which is still under deliberation.

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