ISLAMABAD, Aug 15: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman said on Thursday that religious groups opposed to the country’s support for the US war on terror would unite to contest elections and seek to create a “sovereign Islamic state”.

He said that the alliance would not make Islamabad’s backing of the international war against terror an election issue in the Oct 10 parliamentary vote.

“It is a major tragedy that has not yet disappeared from the minds of people...but we want to contest the elections on the basis of ideology and not for the sake of a single issue,” he told Reuters in an interview.

JUI and five other religious groups have forged an election alliance — Muttahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) — that Fazl says will strive to make Pakistan a true Islamic state.

It will also seek to resolve the long-standing Kashmir dispute with nuclear rival India in line with UN Security Council resolutions passed more than 50 years ago which call for a vote on whether Kashmiris wish to join Pakistan or India.

But Maulana Fazl sought to dispel suspicions that the groups were following in the footsteps of the ousted Taliban by seeking to create a pure Islamic state in Pakistan.

“The Taliban belong to Afghanistan where there is no political party or political force,” he said.

“But we have a political doctrine to run state affairs. I think it would not be true to compare the people of Pakistan with the people of Afghanistan,” he added.

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