ISLAMABAD - The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal leadership wanted to win over more like-minded religio-political parties to join the recently revived alliance, but it has so far failed to induct any other party into its fold.

Background interviews and interaction with leaders of the component parties of the alliance revealed that the MMA leadership was not interested in getting other parties in the MMA fold but they would prefer to engage these parties, some of which are part of Milli Yakjahati Council (MYC), on a need-based seat adjustment in the upcoming elections.

The MMA would be organizing a grand workers’ convention on May 2 in the federal capital where the central slots of the alliance would be filled while a formal roadmap for a mass contract campaign in all the four provinces would also be announced, said MMA Secretary General Liaquat Baloch.

Answering a question about induction of other parties into MMA fold, Baloch, who is also central Naib Amir of Jamaat-i-Islami, said that they were open to other religious parties and when some parties would show interest in this connection, the matter would be decided by the supreme council of the alliance.

To another question, he said that the alliance would function with full strength following the May 2 convention where, besides filling the central offices of the alliance, the manifesto and future strategy of the alliance, with specific reference to the upcoming general election, would be finalized.

Currently, the MMA comprises the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP), the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the Jamaat-i-Islami, Tehreek-i-Islami and the Markazi Ahle Hadith.

Sources in the alliance informed The Nation that it was a tacit understanding between the component parties to set aside the differences on some crucial issues like the FATA reforms, where the Jamaat-i-Islami wanted its merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, while JUI-F chief has completely taken an opposite stance on the merger issue.

Sources said that it was further decided in the initial meetings of the component parties that soon after the revival of the alliance the parties, which are part of either federal or provincial governments, would immediately quit these governments, but the matter is hanging in the balance as both the JUI-F and the JI were still part of federal and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments respectively.

Downplaying these differences, a JUI-F leader wishing anonymity said that once the alliance is fully functional, both the JUI-F and the JI would quit their respective governments adding that staying as part of the government would otherwise become irrelevant as the federal government would be completing its mandated term on May 31.

Sources in the party said that most probably the JUI-F and the JI would quit their respective governments after May 2 workers’ convention where the remaining central offices of MMA would be filled while the supreme council of the alliance would also give approval of the alliance’s manifesto.

The MMA, which was formed ahead of the 2002 general election, had performed remarkably in the polls. The alliance formed a government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the then NWFP, single-handedly and as a coalition government in Balochistan with the PML-Q, besides securing the position of the leader of opposition in the National Assembly.

Previously, the MMA  comprised of six religious parties — the Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam- Fazl, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Tehreek-i-Jafaria Pakistan, the Jamaat-i-Ahle Hadith and the Muttahida Deeni Mahaz.