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MMA unveils 12-point election manifesto

Updated June 06, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and others at a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal press conference on Tuesday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star
ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and others at a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal press conference on Tuesday.—Tanveer Shahzad/White Star

ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) on Tuesday unveiled its 12-point election manifesto covering almost everything from local government to protection of Muslim minorities in other countries.

The manifesto was unveiled by MMA president Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam.

Read: The PML-N made bold claims in its 2013 manifesto. How many of those promises did it keep?

Central leaders of the five-party religious alliance — Allama Sajid Naqvi of the Islami Tehreek, Senator Sirajul Haq of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Pir Ejaz Hashmi of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan and central office-bearers of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith — were also present.

Maulana Fazl said that Pakistan had never had an independent foreign policy since independence.

He also criticised the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the army, and said that there could be disagreement with its point of view.

“Even if the version of the ISPR is accepted and as they say that peace has returned to the (erstwhile) Federally Administered Tribal Areas, then what is the current situation in North and South Waziristan and what is this powder that is exploding now?” the Maulana said without going much into details.

Salient features include independent foreign policy, enforcement of Shariat, land for landless peasants and jobs for locals in CPEC projects

While the MMA was not directly concerned with creation of new provinces in the country, Maulana Fazl said the alliance would not oppose any move for creation of new provinces.

The first point of the MMA’s election manifesto is implementation of Shariat laws, provision of protection to Islamic laws existing in the constitution, empowerment of legislators, promotion of independence of the judiciary, ensuring impartial and neutral administration and introduction of constitutional reforms for devolution of power to the grass root level.

According to the election manifesto, the MMA, once in power, will provide education and employment opportunities and health facilities to all citizens, eradicate all unnecessary taxes and reduce prices of essential items along with evolving a mechanism to stabilise the prices in the long run.

The alliance of religious parties has pledged to formulate an independent and dignified foreign policy so that Pakistan could have relations with other countries on an equal footing.

The MMA wants to establish a global bloc of Muslim nations and strive for protection for Muslims who are minority communities in other countries.

The alliance wants to build water reservoirs in the country but only with consensus.

Its energy policy includes introduction of an effective alternative energy policy and improvement in electricity transmission and distribution system. The energy policy also takes notice of ‘water aggression’ by India and the MMA vows to tackle the issue effectively.

The alliance has also announced its policy on the projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying it will give priority to local people in providing jobs and infrastructure development opportunities.

The MMA wants to revive national industrial complexes, promote small industries and introduce encouraging policies for agriculture sector and the workforce.

It intends to distribute land among landless farmers, provide interest-free agricultural loans and introduce agricultural reforms with reduced taxes on agriculture sector.

The MMA wants to eradicate class-based education system, providing equal opportunities to both genders in higher studies, and promote the national language along with development of local languages.

The alliance of religious parties has called for enhancing education budget.

In the health sector, the MMA wants free treatment of heart, liver, cancer, TB and other common diseases for all citizens by upgrading hospitals at tehsil and district level.

The alliance promises to announce youth and women development polices at a later stage.

The MMA also announced the launch of its election campaign, with the first public meeting scheduled for June 4 in Quetta, to be followed by such gatherings in Karachi on June 8, Malakand June 12, Peshawar June 24 and Multan June 29. The last public rally will be held in Rawalpindi.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2018