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LAHORE, Sept 22: Leadership of three major religio-political parties -- Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl), Jamaat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan --reached a consensus on Saturday to restart efforts for the revival of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), an electoral platform of around six religious parties that was formed in 2002 and finally collapsed in 2005 owing to various political differences.

The chapter to revive MMA had almost closed a couple of months ago after its two former major players -- JUI-F and JI -- failed to evolve some result-oriented formula in this regard.

JUI-F Secretary-General Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri after a six-month gap met with JI Secretary-General Liaquat Baloch at his residence in Lahore and discussed various issues relating to restoration of MMA, ongoing protests against the anti-Islam film and upcoming general elections etc.

Similarly Mr Haidri held a meeting with JUP Secretary-General Qari Muhammad Zawar Bahadur and discussed these issues with him.

“We have discussed these issues with each other and felt revival of the MMA need of the hour. But I told Mr Haidri that there should be effective and serious efforts to first identify the previous mistakes and avoid to repeat these if we succeed in reviving MMA,” Liaquat Baloch told Dawn.

He said during the meeting it was also discussed that the political ambit of the MMA (if revived) should not be limited to the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and it should be expanded to Punjab and Sindh amid active participation of all of its previous member parties and others if interested to join.

Baloch said the two parties also expressed sorrow over the massive loss of lives and properties during Friday’s protests, mainly in Karachi and Peshawar. “We are sure that none of the activists from any religious or political party is involved in these events and whatever wrong was done on Friday was an attempt of the anti-state elements to break unity on the issue,” he added.

To a question, he said though the issue of blasphemous film had united all religious and political forces of the country, it would not leave any political impact on the efforts for MMA revival, other electoral alliances or the election results etc.

“We have great reverence for our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and are always united on the issues relating to our religion or prophet. But as far as the political scenario is concerned, I think every party will have its own strategy for contesting elections,” he said.

Talking to Dawn, JUI-F Secretary Information Maulana Muhammad Amjad Khan said Mr Haidri’s meetings with Liaquat Baloch and Qari Zawar Bahadur were fruitful as all realised that the MMA should be revived in the current scenario.

He said keeping in view the Saturday’s development, more meetings between the JUI-F and JI were expected.

The leadership of JUI-F and JI had held each other responsible for not reviving the MMA in various statements. The JI leadership is of the view that revival of MMA will not be possible until the JUI-F completely disassociates itself from the PPP-led collation government. On the other hand, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had always held the JI responsible for not reviving MMA. He had also blamed the JI leadership for demanding a major share in seat adjustments during next elections in case of MMA revival.