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Religious parties form electoral alliance

SWABI, March 31: Three religious parties have formed an alliance to support each other’s candidates across the country in the upcoming general elections.

The leaders of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) and Jamiat Ishaat Tauheed Wa Sunnah (JITS) gathered at Panjpir Madressah and vowed to defeat secular forces and strengthen hands of religious parties in the upcoming elections.

JI was represented by its provincial chief Prof Mohammad Ibrahim, JUI-S by its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief Maulana Yousaf Shah and JITS by its central chief Maulana Mohammad Tayyeb.

Addressing a joint press conference, they announced entering into the electoral alliance, saying they decided to support each other’s candidates in the elections across the country.

The talks among the three religious parties have been continued for the last few weeks. JI central chief Syed Munawar Hassan also visited Panjpir Madressah and held negotiations with Maulana Tayyeb on March 23. JUI-S was also in contact with the two religious parties.

Prof Ibrahim, Maulana Tayyeb and Mulana Yousaf Shah said on the occasion that they agreed to work jointly for sending religious people to the parliament so that they could play their role in the prevailing difficult situation.

It is pertinent to mention here that JITS has not contested elections in the past.

The group, which has many supporters across the country, will field candidates in different areas for the first time to take part in the elections.

“We want to restore peace in the country and send such leaders to the parliament who can steer the country out of the prevailing crises,” said Maulana Tayyeb.

Prof Ibrahim said that other religious parties could also join them and their doors would remain open for them to enter into the alliance.

To a question, he said that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman always supported the ruling party and one should look at his track record. He failed to recognise the status of religious scholars, he added.

“One should ask Maulana (Fazlur Rehman) whether he has warded party tickets to millionaires or ulema. It would make everything clear,” said Maulana Tayyeb.

Maulana Yousaf Shah said that they already supported each other in Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC). The electoral alliance further strengthened their relations, he added.

Both JUI-S and JITS have not fielded candidates in Swabi district for any National Assembly or provincial assembly seat. Both the parties will support the candidates of JI in the district.

“It is really a great day for us because the leaders of two religious parties have announced to back our candidates. Now we can be counted among the great political forces of the district. The results will be totally different on May 11,” said Sajid Bukhari, the district information secretary of JI.