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JUI-F leaders to frame strategy for next elections

PESHAWAR – The district level leadership of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) would sit together on August 23 to chalk out a strategy for the upcoming general elections .

The gathering is aimed at carving out such strategy to grab more seats in the general elections as well as ponder over the possibility of an electoral alliance with other political parties or opting for solo flight at provincial and national level.

The news came in as there are also widespread speculations about the revival of the now dismantled Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). On Saturday, the JUI-F’s senior leader from Balochistan and Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri called on the JUI-S top leader Maulana Sami-ul-Haq and discussed with him the prevailing political situation of the country. Though an official statement was not released, but the moot complimented the speculations about the revival of the MMA. Sources closed to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) have also stated that the revival of the MMA could be on the cards to put a unified front of religious political parties against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling coalition leader in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Political pundits in the province are of the view that the PTI has still a large support base in KP and could give a tough time to even an alliance of the rest of political parties of the province.

The JUI-F appears to have started taking practical steps for preparations for the upcoming general elections , as an executive council meeting chaired by Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan decided on Sunday to arrange a gathering of all the district level leadersof the party to discuss a plan for the elections . The JUI-F has a solid support base in KP and operates basically through the hundreds of religious seminaries across the provinces and the mosques, as majority of the prayer leaders in the province belong to this party.

Being a major political force in KP, the JUI-F decided to consider all options for gaining maximum seats of both the provincial and national assemblies.

Sources inside the party said that the meeting might first consider the possible revival of the MMA, followed by discussing the option of a seat-to-seat adjustment with other political parties. The party could also go for forming an electoral alliance or could opt for a solo flight, they said.

However, among these options, the JUI-F is much more interested in the restoration of MMA, a conglomerate of six religious parties, which had emerged victorious by winning majority of the KP Assembly seats in 2002 general elections and had formed a government and ruled the province for five years, sources within the party told The Nation.

In the meeting, it was also decided that the JUI-F would field its winning candidates on all provincial and national assemblies’ seats, if it failed in having alliance or seat adjustment with other parties, which appears to have very little chances, they were of the view.

Though Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, the most trusted man of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, is nowadays holding meetings with the leaderships of other religious parties for revival of the MMA, however, it considers other options too, they explained.

In this connection, the JUI-F district-based organisations would present reports to the party’s provincial executive council next month in the light of which the party would decide what option would be the best for contesting the coming general polls.

Moreover, a two-member election committee was formed consisting Mufti Kifayatullah and Abdul Jalil Jan and was tasked to prepare a report prior to the next meeting of the party’s executive council about the positions of various parties, their performance and 2002, 2008 and 2013 elections results. Later, the report would be submitted to the party’s central executive council to decide which one party would be more advantageous for the JUI-F in coming general elections , the sources added.

The participants of the meeting agreed that names of wishing candidates for fighting in next general elections would be finalised by end of August. It was made clear that no name would be Okayed without approval of the concerned district-based organisation of the party, they concluded.

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