MMA’s manifesto

WITH political temperature going up in the run up to the election scheduled to be held on July 25, Muttahida Majlis-i-Ammal (MMA), the alliance of religious parties, has taken the lead from other mainstream political parties in presenting its election manifesto, which covers almost every aspect from local government system to protection of Muslim minorities in other countries. It also promises provision of education, employment opportunities and health facilities to all citizens, eradication of all unnecessary taxes and reduction of prices of essential items along with evolving a mechanism to stabilise prices in the long run.
Indeed the MMA’s manifesto is very ambitious and has all the ingredients to attract voters but the fact of matter is that times have changed and the people with increasing level of awareness do not only believe in mere big claims and slogans. Before polling their votes, the people will also consider the performance of the leadership of the religious parties, which besides forming government in KP back in 2002 have also remained part of coalition governments both in the Centre and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These parties also need to answer as to how much they worked towards bringing improvement in the life of the people when they were in power. Historically, the religious parties draw their support from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but it is also a historical fact that the people of the province always reject those who failed to deliver. Similar pattern was seen in the last two to three general elections. In 2013, JUI (F) and JI won only nine and three seats in the National Assembly respectively. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, both parties ceded their traditional stronghold to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which swept the election to form the provincial government. Given the current situation, the Alliance’s electoral prospects in its own backyard may not be as bright as in the past. It is not clear whether PTI’s performance in KP will be evaluated by voters negatively to the extent that it will be voted out of power in the next election. But at the same time, we understand that the MMA leadership will have to really work hard and show their commitment to their agenda of reforms to gain some foothold in Pashtun populated areas.

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