THE JUI-F and the Jamaat-i-Islami have reportedly been striving to revive the coalition of religious parties known as the MMA. Obviously, in the fractious politics of the country, the people would be keenly watching any attempt at unity between various political parties and the common programme of action they formulate. At the same time, it seems it is high time that leaders of the various schools of religious thought and religious parties were brought together to thoroughly deliberate and come up with an answer to a fundamental question that is confronting the nation. Setting up of a conference, on the pattern of an APC, could help evolve a decisive policy on the issue of extremism. They must sit together and find a cure to the menace of militancy and the twisted version of religion that is being preached by uninformed religious zealots. The teachings of the Taliban-style clerics have played havoc with the country. Religious parties like the JUI-F and the JUI-S wield considerable influence over people of the tribal belt. They have been running networks of seminaries with large numbers of students and followers. The present situation demands that they take a different course than what they have been treading so far. They must join hands to eliminate the menace of extremism from society and drive out forces, which are disposed to violence. One would have thought that they actively engaged themselves in containing the series of deadly bomb attacks the country is witnessing, killing innocent civilians. The whole country should have a transparent strategy against the prevailing retrogressive mindset. It should not be that hard for a nation facing an existential threat from insurgent forces to come up with a clear-cut answer. The religious parties stood united during the Musharraf era because they were in power, ruling over the NWFP and partly over Balochistan. And problems arose as soon as the alliance was routed in the elections. Now once again they have shown interest to form a coalition with the express intent that it is aimed at steering the country out of the present turbulent times. Perhaps, a major factor behind the commitment might be the madrassah business where the government intends to introduce reforms. The JUI-F, JUI-S and Jamaat have stakes in the enterprise and they should join hands and help the authorities to devise a system of education at madrassahs that is in tune with the requirements of the modern age so that the students who qualify from these institutions could become useful members of society.