LAHORE – Three powerful religious organisations have almost shown their willingness to contest the upcoming general elections from a single platform, creating further polarisation in the vote bank of Islamist and right-wing parties across the country.
According to insiders, the proposed alliance of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (the new name of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami and Milli Muslim League (a Jamaat-ud-Dawa-backed political group which represents Deobandi and Wahabi schools of thoughts) will also include in it some small religious groups of Brelvi school, particularly Sahibzada Abul Khair Zubair-led Jamait Ulema-i-Pakistan-Noorani to create a moderate image of the group and expand it equivalent to Muttahida Majils-e-Amal (MMA), a recently-revived group of five religio-political parties.
However, contrary to the MMA’s structure which comprises parties of all Islamic schools (Brelvi, Deobandi, Wahabi and Shia), no Shia organisation will be the part of Maulana Samiul Haq-led coalition because of presence of Sipah-i-Sahaba in it.
Since Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) is a proscribed organisation and MML is not registered with Election Commission of Pakistan, both parties could field their candidates in the polls under the banner of the proposed alliance.
Negotiations with Muslim League-Zia chief Ijazul Haq, Awami Raj Party head Jamshed Dasti and some other individuals to include them in the coalition are also underway.
Sources said some eight to 10 religious and political parties would likely to be the part of the alliance whose announcement was expected in next two to three weeks.
They added the religious leaders held a meeting in Islamabad a few days ago with Maulana Sami in the chair to finalise outlines of the proposed alliance. The delegations of MML, ASWJ, JUP-Noorani and Abdullah Gul, son of former spymaster Hameed Gul, and other notables attended the meeting and agreed to contest next elections from a united platform.
Political observers say the group, if comes into existence, will pose a serious threat to the vote bank of MMA in different constituencies, especially of KP.
Since MMA is widely critical to Imran Khan’s politics, Maulana Sami-led proposed group’s politics will be against PML-N, they believe.
They also claim, the alliance will prove harmful to PML-N in Faisalabad division and South Punjab where Maulana Ahmad Ludhyanvi led ASWJ’s vote will not go for Sharif’s party. The PML-N remained a major beneficiary of Sipah-i-Sahaba votes in Faisalabad division and South Punjab in previous elections.