PESHAWAR, Nov 3: The Jamaat-i-Islami has intensified its efforts to form a broader electoral alliance of religious parties to counter Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) in the next general elections.

The Jamaat organised Ulema and Mashaikh Convention here at Afghan Football Ground on Saturday that was attended by leaders of various religious parties and groups who don’t have representation in MMA.

A joint declaration, issued at the end of the convention, said that anti-America religious-political parties should go for a greater cooperation before next general elections to stop growing US interference in internal affairs of the country.

“This convention appeals to brave Muslims of the country, especially people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to use votes as a weapon in forthcoming elections to defeat the exposed and unexposed agents of America and western powers,” said the declaration.

Sources said that crucial meeting of religious parties and personalities would be held in Islamabad soon to decide parameters of the proposed electoral alliance.

An insider said that meeting of the likeminded parties had been delayed owing to absence of Maulana Sameeul Haq, who had gone to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj. The source did not rule out induction of other political parties, having anti-US stance, in the proposed alliance.

The convention was addressed by JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan, JUI-S provincial chief Maulana Yousaf Shah, former MNA from Karak Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz Mujahid, Maulana Khalil Ahmad Mukhlis of JUI (ideological group), Maulana Mohammad Ismail Derwaish of Ahl-i-Sunnat wal Jamaat, Maulana Pir Mohammad Cheshti, a dissident of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Noorani group), World Ulema and Mashiakh Council chairman Maulana Mohammad Shoaib and Jamiat Ittehad Ulema Pakistan president Maulana Abdul Malik.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman recently revived MMA without including JI and JUI-S in the alliance. He announced to contest next polls from the  platform of MMA. Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP), Markazi Jamiat Ahl-i-Hadith, Islami Tehrik and a faction of JUI-S have joined the MMA.

The speakers at the convention strongly criticised Maulana Fazlur Rehman without mentioning his name and blamed him for sabotaging unity among religious parties.

Munawar Hassan said that MMA was dissolved in 2008 and now the alliance was restored without finding out causes of its dissolution. He said that MMA was formed to forge unity among Muslims.

He said that his party wanted to ascertain the reasons and causes, which led to the disintegration of the six-party alliance. One major objective of the formation of MMA was that the component parties of the alliance would not cooperate with Asif Ali Zardari and other agents of America, he added.

“Ridiculously some religious leaders are shaking hands with the US puppets and seculars like Asif Zardari and seek his help to protect seminaries,” said Mr Hassan and added that alliance among religious parties and groups was inevitable.

He also criticised role of Kashmir Committee headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman and said that the Kashmir cause had suffered setback because of the inefficiency of the committee. He said that members should quit the committee if they could not express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz while condemning policies of Maulana Rehman said that JUI-F had been deviated from its principles and objectives for the sake of getting seats in the parliament.

He said that respected religious personalities, who had served the party, had been replaced by inducting wealthy and secular people in JUI-F to win seats of National and provincial assemblies.

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