Six major religious parties in the country announced the revival of Muttahia Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) on November 10. One of the aims behind the revival is to protect the Islamic identity of the country, as the parties claim that this step is the only way to ensure democratic stability in the country. However as history shows, marriages of connivance have usually come about when elections are at hand and securing voter banks becomes crucial for aspiring contestants.

Two major parties responsible for this revival are Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazal (JUI-F). They joined forces back in July for possible electoral alliance and revival of MMA. However, back then the revival was attributed to different reasons.

The inspiration was the votes MMA received back in 2002. However, one aspect that these parties are forgetting is that their voter base is only limited to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and does not extend to other provinces. And within KP, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is a formidable challenger which did not have any footprint in the province back in 2002. Mainstream parties such as the PML-N, PPP and PTI do not have much to fear from the alliance as far as Punjab and Sindh are concerned. Back in 2008, the same MMA could not get a significant number of votes. Recent by-elections also do not show any clear signs of resurgence.

With all the developments taking place on the political landscape, it should not come as a surprise if political parties find it difficult to strategise. How the ongoing political crisis is resolved will very much determine when and how elections are contested by each stakeholder.

It appears that the revival of the MMA is not being given much consideration by the mainstream parties and it is only being taken as a desperate attempt to get some votes. Despite their rhetoric, history shows that religious parties have not fared well in elections. The people of Pakistan have traditionally preferred to bring mainstream forces into power when given the chance.

It would also be interesting to see what implications aggressive entities such as Tehreek-e-Labain (TYL) and Milli Muslim League (MML) may have on the MMA. Perhaps they could join in the fun. Or better yet, attempt to replace the older faces of religious politics.