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PTI goes anti-liberals with JUI-S alliance

Sami says alliance with PTI will block victory of ‘secular forces’

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Sami has rejected the prospect of joining the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) — a defunct alliance of religious parties which is in the process of being revived — and revealed its intention of forging an electoral alliance with the Pakistan-i-Tehreek Insaf (PTI) for the 2018 general elections.

Talking to the media here on Wednesday, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq said that the party’s central body (Shura) had unanimously rejected the proposal of joining the MMA and decided to become an ally of the PTI in the next elections.

The JUI-S and the PTI would stand side by side in the coming polls to block the victory of “liberal and secular forces,” he said, adding that foreign forces would try to bring liberal and secular groups to power after the next elections.

JUI-S central body rejects proposal to join MMA

“An alliance between the two parties will pave the way for promulgation of Islamic system in the country,” Maulana Sami said.

He called for coordination among religious forces to protect Islamic ideology and identity of Pakistan, saying “I will continue my efforts for unity among religious groups to contest elections from a joint platform”.

Maulana Sami said: “There is a deep mental harmony between me and Imran Khan. He (Imran) has said that our thoughts are similar.”

In the same breath, he added that the PTI would respect ulema and give up its “culture and traditions” after formation of the alliance.

The PTI core committee had also approved an alliance with the JUI-S, Maulana Sami claimed.

He said that he would continue efforts to persuade other religious parties and groups to join the JUI-PTI alliance.

The JUI-S Shura has decided not to join the MMA when efforts for revival of the erstwhile conglomerate of six religious parties are afoot and a formal announcement is likely to be made in Karachi on Dec 13.

Leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Jam­aat-i-Islami (JI), Tehreek-i-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Noorani) and Jamiat Ahle Hadias (Sajid Mir) have recently met in Lahore and agreed on restoration of the MMA.

However, after Lahore’s meeting, Maulana Sami held separate meetings with Imran Khan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak in Islamabad and Akora Khattak, respectively, last month, to discuss the prospect of an electoral alliance between the two parties.

It may be recalled that the KP government had allocated Rs300 million for Darul Uloom Haq­qania, a madressah run by the Maulana Sami family, in the 2016-17 budget. The JUI-S recently supported the PTI candidate in the NA-4 Peshawar by-election.

JI shocked

Reacting to Maulana Sami’s announcement, JI provincial chief Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said the JUI-S decision had shocked him and called on its chief to review his decision.

“I urge Maulana Sami to withdraw the decision and ask leaders of the MMA to persuade him to do so,” said Mr Khan, adding that the defunct alliance could be a proper platform for all religious parties.

Maulana Sami also heads the Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) — an alliance of 40 religious groups, including Jamaatud Dawa of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

Maulana Sami had earlier insisted that the DPC and other religious groups should also be included in the MMA.

Criticising leaders of the defunct MMA, particularly Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maulana Sami said that the MMA failed to do anything for Islamisation (of the country) after the alliance emerged victorious in the 2002 elections and subsequently formed government in KP — then called the North West Frontier Province.

Despite forming government in the province and having 70 seats in the two houses of parliament, the MMA did not raise voice for an Islamic system, the JUI-S chief said. “A wise man cannot be bitten twice,” Maulana Sami said, adding that he was founder of the MMA but others had hijacked the alliance.

Terming Maulana Fazl “king”, he alleged that the JUI-F chief had used the alliance to promote his personal interests.

Commenting on the US president’s decision to recognise entire Jerusalem as capital of Israel, Maulana Sami described Donald Trump as an “evil man and urged the Muslim world to stop the US leader from insulting Palestinians.

By Zulfiqar Ali

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