Five religious parties join forces to revive MMA

Published December 14, 2017
JAMAIT Ulema-i-Pakistan chief Shah Ovais Noorani addressing a press conference at Bait-ul-Rizwan in Clifton after the decision to revive the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. Other leaders of the five-party alliance are also seen.—Online
JAMAIT Ulema-i-Pakistan chief Shah Ovais Noorani addressing a press conference at Bait-ul-Rizwan in Clifton after the decision to revive the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. Other leaders of the five-party alliance are also seen.—Online

KARACHI: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) — an alliance of religio-political parties that had emerged on the country’s political horizon by contesting the 2002 general elections — has been revived.

However, the names of its office-bearers and members of the working committee will be announced within one month.

The decision to revive the alliance was announced on Wednesday by Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) chief Shah Ovais Noorani at his residence in Clifton where central leadership of the six component parties of the alliance were present.

They include Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Sirajul Haq of the Jamaat-i- Islami (JI), Allama Sajid Mir of Jamiat Ahle Hadith (JAH) and Allama Sajid Naqvi of Tehreek-i-Islami (TI).

Announcing other decisions made at a meeting of the parties held prior to the presser, Mr Noorani said that the MMA would take part in the general elections next year with its previous election symbol (book) and its manifesto would be drafted within one month.

The meeting also constituted a steering committee for the purpose.

Members to quit coalitions in a month

An Ulema and Mashaikh board would also be constituted under the alliance.

According to the JUP-N leader, demanding recovery of all missing persons, participants of the meeting also decided to hold the next session in Balochistan.

Under another decision those MMA members which are part of coalition governments at the Centre and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan would quit the coalitions within one month.

Maulana Fazl said that the MMA would also invite other religious parties to join the alliance which would launch a mass contact campaign after the announcement of names of its office-bearers.

Sirajul Haq said that all systems of government had been tested in the country, adding that “solution to all our problems lies in Nizam-i-Mustafa”.

When the MMA was formed in 2002, it also held in its fold the JUI-F’s arch-rival led by Maulana Samiul Haq.

Fazl on Fata reforms

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the day, Maulana Fazl said that the Fata reforms bill was dropped from the agenda of the National Assembly on Monday ‘not under any pressure from his party but to remove a technical hitch’.

Elaborating, he said that according to the bill the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the Peshawar High Court was to be expanded up to Fata (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) but until the Frontier Crimes Regulation remained on the statute book, Fata would remain under the management of the federation.

Under Article 175 of the Constitution, every province had its own high court, he said. “How is it possible that an area which is under the control of the federation and not part of a province, can be relocated to the jurisdiction of the high court of the province?”

If the Fata reforms bill was passed by the assembly in its present form, it might trigger a constitutional crisis, he warned. “This is our point of view,” said the leader of the JUI-F which is part of the federal coalition, adding the government had tried to explain this anomaly of the bill but the opposition did not pay any heed.

In reply to a question, he said, “we want to solve the Fata issue not emotionally but according to the constitution”.

“Besides, if there are people in favour of Fata’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkwa province, there are also a large number of others who want to continue with the present system.”

Maulana Fazl urged the opposition parties to ‘sit with the prime minister and sort out the problem’ and appealed to all stake holders to seek to resolve the issue through legal and constitutional means instead of building pressure on parliament.

When his attention was drawn to strong reaction of the opposition to the change in the National Assembly agenda, an inordinate delay in the passage of the delimitation bill by the Senate and the prospect of a group of opposition parties staging a sit-in again, the JUI-F chief said, “How long will we go on facing one crisis after the other. Let the nation take a sigh of relief as we cannot afford more crises and should solve the issues within the parameters of the Constitution.”

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2017


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