By Ubaid Ahmed*
Six key religious parties in Pakistan avowed the revitalization of Muttahida Majlis e Amal (MMA) on November 10, 2017. One of the many aims behind this retrieval is to secure the Islamic character and identity of the nation, as the parties assert that this progression is the best way to guarantee fair steadiness within the country. However, as is evident from the history, relational unions are normally formed whenever the elections are at hand; thus securing significant vote banks for aspiring competitors.
The main driving force and inspiration behind this alliance was the votes MMA scored back in 2002. Yet, one viewpoint that this alliance of parties is overlooking is the fact that their voter base is merely constrained to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and does not stretch out to different areas. Also, within KP, the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf is now an impressive challenger which did not have any impression in the area back in 2002. All the mainstream conventional parties e.g. PML-N, PPP and PTI do not have much to fear from the cooperation to the extent Punjab and Sindh are concerned. In 2008, the same MMA couldn’t get a noteworthy number of votes. Recent by-elections both in Punjab and KP likewise do not hint at any distinctive resurgence.
The meeting up of these normal allies under MMA’s banner may help them to enhance that execution by counteracting part of the religious vote; however it is probably not going to have any noteworthy effect on the general outcome. In short without a doubt, it would have no place close to the 2002 results.
Moreover, it is largely anticipated among masses and some political parties that the pioneers of these and different parties have consented to work towards framing a union out of the blue chiefly because of some ‘shrouded factors’, having an effect on everything. Let this be the case but the political improvements amidst the running month ought to be sufficient for all partners and stakeholders to understand that political collusions made under strain to satisfy impermanent motivation don’t get the chance to see the light of the day. The destiny of the merger of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) is a valid example; for in a matter of days, both the parties have backpedaled on their underlying declarations.
Therefore it goes without saying that any external effort to bring together religious parties for the revival of MMA will similarly remain futile.
Likewise it would also be interesting to see what effects aggressive entities such as Tehreek e Labaik (TYL) and Milli Muslim League (MML) may have following the MMA’s revitalization. Perchance they could join in the good times, or, on the other hand, endeavor to supplant the more established countenances of religious politics.
Though it is evident that such alliances are really not going to harm the existing political equilibrium, for major political parties really don’t see MMA’s revival as a threat to their respective vote banks. But, in the wake of Donald Trump’s new Afghan policy and US administration’s ‘do more’ mantra, such alliances are certainly going to bring Pakistan back under the spotlight. It is also evident from the fact that the Afghan Taliban have declared a month ago that they would bolster Pakistan against any danger by the Trump administration. They have vowed to remain by the legislature in the event of any forceful plan sought after by the United States against the nation.
However, shockingly enough this declaration was not made open by the Emarat e Islami Afghanistan, the official name of the Afghan Taliban, but was released by Maulana Samiul Haq, head of his own group of the Jamiat Ulma e Islam, one of the major forces behind the revival of MMA.
*Ubaid Ahmed, Research Affiliate at Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) Islamabad