The Religio-political alliance Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) that ruled the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for long five years, after it merged triumphant in 2002 general elections, despite all odds and difference of opinion between the two major components the Jamiat-e –Ulema –e-Islam (JUI) of Maulana Fazal ur Rehman and Jamaat-e-Islami, though has been revived few months back, yet is not likely to sail smoothly in the forthcoming elections. While their voters continue to be pole apart, there also exists complete difference of ideologies and working methodology of the two main components of the alliance.
The two major parties of the MMA the JUI and the JI , deciding to field joint candidates on various constituencies, are yet to develop consensus over number of seats as local leadership of the both the parties is not willing to give up and MMA’s central parliamentary board has failed to make headway in resolving the disputes over a number of tickets in different districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the two components of the alliance stuck to their position and referred the matter to the party heads to take the final decision.
‘Now the matter would be referred to the central leadership of the alliance, which has the discretion to resolve it in whatever manner they want and their decision would be final’. A leader of the alliance said.
The provincial parliamentary board and provincial heads of the component parties of the five-party religio-political alliance had already resolved the disputes on many of the constituencies of both the national and provincial assemblies, some 15 to 16 seats could still not be decided as both the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) had strong claims over the seats.
In case the disputes are resolved amicably, some 45-50 MMA tickets in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly would go to the JUI-F, 40-43 tickets would be given to JI and two each to Pakistan Islami Tehreek (PIT) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Pakistan (JUP) the junior partners in the alliance.
The PIT would get one ticket each from Kohat and Dera Ismail Khan while JUP would be accommodated with a ticket each in Peshawar and Noshehra.
As far as the disputed seats are concerned, both the JI and JUI-F want the ticket for PK-7 Swat VI for their respective applicants. The JI has nominated former provincial minister Hussein Ahmad Kanju, who had won the seat in 2002, while JUI-F has fielded Mumtaz Mujahid from the constituency.
Both the parties also have equal claim to PK-20 Buner I. The JI is seeking the ticket for former speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Bakht Jehan Khan, while the JUI-F wants it for former MPA Maulana Fazal Ghafoor. Bakht Jehan Khan has a history of winning this seat. However, he lost it to Maulana Fazal Ghafoor in 2013. The criteria adopted by the MMA this time for ticket distribution is the performance of a candidate and party in the 2013 general election.
Likewise disputes over the two provincial assembly seats in Shangla district – PK-23 and 24 as well as PK-55 Mardan VIII could not be decided. The decision on two seats in Mansehra and one each in Abbottabad and Battagram could also not be made. On PK-55 Mardan VIII. JI wants the ticket for its former minister Fazle Rabbani, while JUI-F is pushing the candidature of Shahid Khan amid.
On PK 99 Dera Ismail Khan, former opposition leader in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Maulana Lutf Ur Rahman who is the brother of JUI Supremo Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman, wants to have PK 99 Dera Ismail Khan come what may yet JI wants this ticket for Fatehullah Miankhel yet another seasoned politician and a scion of influential Miankhel family.
It may be mentioned that Maulana Lutfur Rahman, who is also MMA candidate for PK 98 Dera Ismail Khan-IV, in case of MMA gaining majority in KP is believed to be flexing his muscles for the Chief Minister ship of the province.
However, though the top leadership of the two major components of the MMA might have gone united may be for a ‘larger cause’, the voters of JUI and JI find it hard to struggle together and hence are not likely to lend support to the candidate of the other party.
It is no longer a hidden fact that during the previous MMA government in KP , the JI team of ministers led by the then senior party leader Siraj ul Haq, who is now JI Amir, tried to leave the coalition government many times as the JUI minister accused of minting money were also earning bad name to them. However, every time the then JI Chief late Qazi Hussein Ahmad came to the rescue of the MMA and advised his men to remain associated with the coalition government as he wanted to keep the alliance of the religious parties, that was formed after a long time, intact.
While nothing is final in the politics and yesterday’s foes may be tomorrow’s friends, and the JUI and JI have shaken hands once again to wage joint struggle from a single platform, the political future of the MMA continues to be uncertain as there exist complete difference of ideologies and working methodology of the two parties which are the main components of the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)
Though it is said the KP people always go for change, as has been witnessed during the last two decade or so, in fact they hardly give second chance to the political forces that do not deliver in the province.