Return of the Taliban in Afghanistan has made leading religious parties of Pakistan optimistic about their future role in power politics, and they have geared up efforts to form a united platform to further strengthen their position, it has been learnt.
Disappointed from the fissures within the PML-N, following the PPP and ANP’s removal from the Pakistan Democratic Alliance, its president, who is head of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman is himself at the centre of the latest efforts to unite the religious parties, MinuteMirror has learnt it after background discussions with leaders of the JUI-F and top clerics who do not wish to be named in the story.
“Leading Deobandi scholars and some religious organizations believe they could form next government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan if they succeed to unite the religio-political parties,” said the insiders.
They said JUI-F President Maulana Fazlur Rahman wanted to bring the Jamaat-e-Islami and Samiul Haq faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam back into the folds of the Muttadhida Majlse Amal, a conglomerate of different religious parties formed during the regime of General Pervez Musharraf in 2002. The MMA collapsed in 2008 after the JI, one of the six parties of the alliance, boycotted the general elections “under the military dictator”. However, the JUI-F, the JI, Jamiat Ulema Pakistan of Maulana Noornai’s sons, Tehreek-e-Jafria Pakistan of Allama Sajid Naqvi, Jamiat Ahle Hadith of Professor Sajid Mir and JUI of late Maulana Samiul Haq later joined hands to contest 2013 elections. The JUI-S left the MMA before the polls and the JI after the polls.
Insiders said the Maulana Fazl contacted the JI through his close aide in Islamabad who conveyed the message of the JUI-F chief to JI Emir Sirajul Haq. Maulana Fazal, said the sources, also approached the Samiul Haq faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam. Some leading clerics have been tasked to approach Hafiz Hussain Ahmad and Maulana Muhammad Khan Shernai who along with other leaders particularly from Balochistan formed their own faction of the JUI in December 2020 after revolting against the “policies of Maulana Fazlur Rahman.”
The JI, sources added, so far expressed reservations on entering into any alliance but it was largely considered the party would re-visit its political strategy in near future. The JI had announced that it would contest next polls under its own flag and electoral symbol.
Professor Sajid Mir, though was elected as senator on the quota of the PML-N from Punjab, has always supported the idea of unity among the religious parties, said the sources, adding Shah Awais Noorani and Shah Anas Noorani of the JUP were part of the efforts. They said even Allama Sajid Naqvi wanted the unity of religious parties.
Insiders said the leaders of religious parties believe they could take benefit from the Taliban-rise-phenomenon which was getting popularity among religious circles of Pakistan and particularly in northern-western area of the country.