Revival of MMA: Reality or just a far fetched possibility?
January 13, 2012
Country’s political barometer is currently sizzling at highest of temperatures, and various political parties have begun their partying already, while the scenario strongly implies the possibility of much earlier elections in Country, right in 2012. Many political pundits have predicted the year 2012 as year of election, which is also rife with such mega upsets as massive failures of incumbents, emergence of PTI in National politics, coinciding with defections of such political giants as Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and other stalwarts. Massive stormy turnouts at various PTI rallies in major cities of Lahore and Karachi have forced many dumbfounded experienced analysts to rethink over their predictions/analysis. Religious oriented political parties have also galvanized into action, reactivating their coordination, contacts with masses through such platforms as seminars, conventions, and public rallies and gatherings. Earnest work has also been initialized on party manifestos.
In the backdrop of these sudden torrid and frenzied political activities, all like minded parties are trying their best to patch up with other coalitions in order to contest a forthcoming election, difficult to election ahead. Religious oriented parties are not far from this phenomenon, and are also vying to patch up with each other for joint electoral contests. More on the grounds of previously formed MMA (Muttihada Majlis-e-ammal). Religious-oriented political parties have played an important part in National affairs right from Pakistan’s Independence. They have always made their presence felt through various National issues like 1973 Constitution, Tehrik Khatam- e-Nabuwat (movement for sanctity of Prophet Hood), movement for restoration of democracy, struggle against dictatorship, Jihad against Soviet invasion of Afghanistan etc.
There is no doubt about the effectiveness of religious parties’ role in all prospects of elections, like seat-to-seat adjustments, and their presence in general, local bodies or by elections. In the aftermath of 2002 general elections, some of the major achievements of MMA include forcing President Musharraf to discard his military rank (‘uniform down’ movement). It goes to the credit of MMA parties that they struggled against Musharraf’s military rank from the very onset, but they are also labeled for bang in cohorts with Musharraf on sly. MMA endeavored for best of developmental projects for the Province, during its five year tenure, within the available resources. As such the alliance is known to have won the trust of IMF and World Bank, while even Transparency International TI vouches for maintained transparency within limited available resources. MMA was accused of supporting and nourishing Talibinization, but it is nevertheless an endorsed /undisputed and undeniable reality that these very religious parties are the biggest barriers for extremist elements like Taliban, while also a catalyst for restraining its own members for falling into lure of extremist elements.; all by the virtue of their democratic nature. However the actual agenda of MMA was establishment of an Islamic welfare estate, which surfaced in the aftermath of American intrusion of Afghanistan which resulted in termination of Taliban regime there. MMA attracted the attention / sympathies of common voter, after termination of what seemed to be a victimized Taliban regime in the hands of Western powers in Afghanistan.
However it s bitter irony that despite being given chance all component parties failed to deliver their agendas , functioning / seeming more like power hungry nomads, finding no tangible end in sight. The hurdles created by then President Musharraf in the very first step towards Islamization through proposed Hasba Bill, should have initiated these parties to resign, ushering in laurels and future success, thus saving its vote bank. However boycott of 2008 general elections by JI, forced JUI to gain eight seats, securing Akram Khan Durrani’s appointment as opposition leader of the Province. Besides the boycott of JI, the other reason for failure of these parties was boycotting general elections , while fully contesting by-elections held in the wake of general elections; thus negating their very own agendas. This also forced party activists to seek other political venues for their ventures.
Hence keeping up this destructive pattern, JUI an important component of MMA, having no specific targeted agendas or political theory, left the ruling coalition after three years of imprudent and selfish-oriented endeavors of hankering for portfolios instead of concentrating on such valid and hot issues like drone attacks, NATO/ISAF supplies. This has forced an ordinary voter to look towards PTI to deliver. Currently there have been tendencies to revive MMA, but constant confrontation between two major partners of JI and JUI seem to make the likelihood a dream rather than reality. This can force both to seek political alliances with such liberal counterparts like PTI and PML-N. Senator Gul Naseeb Khan claims that 95% of issues and work over revival of MMA had already been accomplished, and claims to deliver good news sooner. But it should also be considered that JI’s Ameer for KPK, Senator Professor Muhammad Ibrahim Khan wants to review the reasons of disintegration of MMA, while he also credits JI for 2002 victory of MMA.
If MMA does manage to reorganize itself, it could definitely be able to draw the voters’ attention, but nevertheless strong coalition between otherwise ideologically motivated elements is the only way to sustain. Currently both parties are engaged in a strange love-hate-yearn relationship, and could fall over many issues like seat adjustments, while JI’s conditions for JUI to eschew relationships with President Zardari and breaking away from Balochistan government could also backfire.