LAHORE - Although efforts have been started to form an alliance of religio-political parties before the next election, the inclusion of Shia and Brelvi parties into it has become a major challenge for those who are behind the move.

The other hurdles in alliance, according to insiders who spoke with The Nation on condition of anonymity, are: who will lead the proposed coalition?, seat adjustment with major political parties and willingness of Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam-S (JUI-S) chief Maulana Samiul Haq to sit with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq has recently showed his eagerness to unite religious parties at a single platform before entering into the next election. Maulana Fazlur Rehman is already ready for the “noble cause” and he also formed a committee to initiate talks with different parties in this regard. But, the task is bigger than the expectations of both the parties and the leader of different religious parties in their background discussions raise questions on the possibility and viability of religious alliance.

“It could be a Wahabi parties alliance and Jamaat-e-Islami’s participation in it would bring severe damage to its pan-Islamism ideology,” a JI leader said.   

But in case the move bears some fruits, both the parties (JUI-F, JI), major player in religious politics of the country, would not be ready to leave the driving seat of alliance for each other. The Jamaat and the Jamiat with major vote bank in KP and ally of PTI and PML-N respectively, the two bitter political enemies, would certainly prefer seat adjustment with their “friends” in next election which could be unacceptable to each other in case of their union. The post-Panama judgement situation has further widened gulf between the JI and JUI-F as Siraj leaves no occasion to go to criticise Sharifs, the ally of JUI-F.

Maulana Sami-ul-Haq remained always critical to Maulana Fazl in private and open meetings. The former repeatedly termed latter the opportunist and is not ready to be part of any such union which has representation of JUI-F although both the parties (JUI-F, JUI-S) have the same ideology, Deobandi school of thought. With the impression that Saudi Arabai is behind the move, the issue of Ehle-e-hadith parties has almost resolved as Hafiz Ibtisam’s Jamiat Ehle-e-hadith and Professor Sajid Mir’s Markazi Jamiat Ehle-e-hadith would put their personal issues on backburner for a “greater cause”, but it is not as easy as considered.

The two major parties, Allama Sajid Naqvi’s Tehreek-e-Islami and Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen, representing Shia schools of thought are not willing to be the part of the alliance. Their reluctance to be part of the union is because of the impression that Saudi Arabia is at the back alliance and they consider their participation in “Wahabi, Deobandi” led union would damage their vote-bank. Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, a represent of Brelvi school of thought, with its central leadership Shah Awais Noorani and Pir Ijaz Hashmi is also wanting alliance but the party is already in camp of JUI-F and not ready to tolerate Sahibzada Abual Khair Zubair’s led JUP-Noorani, the Brelvi party in camp of Jamaat-e-Islami.