KARACHI: In a major development, two mainstream parties of Barelvi school of thought — the Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and Pakistan Sunni Tehreek — on Monday joined hands to contest the Feb 8 general election from one platform.

Announcing the alliance at the TLP’s Rizvi House headquarters, leaders of the two parties also appealed to other parties of the same school of thought to join them to defeat what they called “secular forces”.

According to the deal, the Sunni Tehreek (ST) would contest on one National Assembly and two Sindh Assembly seats in Karachi on TLP electoral symbol ‘Crane’.

“We are so thankful to the Almighty that we [TLP and ST] have mutually and unconditionally agreed to contest the upcoming elections together as one party in Karachi,” said TLP leader Mufti Qasim Fakhri.

Crane will be the electoral symbol of ST candidates, says Mufti Qasim

Accompanied by Sahibzada Bilal Abbass Qadri of the ST, he said: “The ST will contest election on PS-91 & 93 and NA-235.”

He said that the two parties sent a message of harmony and unity to all religious segments of the country and they both wanted more parties aligned with their school of thought should join the alliance.

The TLP had claimed highest religious votes in 2018 elections in Karachi, defeating the five-party alliance Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal that many believed had fast depleting support of mainstream parties of Barelvi school of thought.

Though the Sunni Tehreek has so far failed to put any good show in the electoral politics, the party is known for its influence in several neighbourhoods with fair strength of its organisational structure.

Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2023

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