LAHORE – Despite favourable conditions to extract maximum benefit, religio-political parties are less likely to put up an impressive show in next general elections due to differences between two major components of defunct Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and emergence of a new force in the political arena.

On-going war on terror, resumption of NATO supplies and ever increasing drone attacks could prove a headache for the ruling coalition federal government in next polls, giving advantage to the mainstream opposition parties including more vocal religio-political parties, Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). Religio-political parties and emerging political force Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) are also targeting biggest opposition entity in National Assembly and ruling party in Punjab by putting question marks on its intention and role in the Centre and performance in the province.

Religio-political parties, PML-N and PTI are hopeful to get masses support on the basis of past performance of the PPP-led government. As such, anti-PPP vote would be divided due to the differences and lack of seat adjustments that could damage performance of opposition parties in general and the PML-N in particular.

Religio political parties are, however, well-aware of the prevailing political environment and possible hurdles in good election results.

“Yes! Prevailing situation is favourable for religio-political parties to put up a good show in next elections. Masses are not satisfied with the performance of PPP and the PML-N. The situation is worsening with every passing day and there is great resentment among the people due to energy crisis, price hike, unemployment, resumption of NATO supplies, drone attacks and law and order situation. PTI was emerging as a major force but now it is a hotchpotch after joining of politicians from other parties,” said JI Secretary-General Liaqat Baloch.

He added that religio-political parties would have to work hard to remove possible hurdles and put up a good show in next general elections.

“No analysis is valid as there is duplicity in our society. People show resentment against one’s act but later do not hesitate to express love. Only permanence in public behaviour can yield positive results for the society,” he said, adding that despite the trend the religio-political parties would be main beneficiaries of the poor performance of the rulers.

Recalling the success of MMA during Musharraf regime, Baloch said a similar alliance could put up even more impressive show in next elections. He said that differences and mistrust was hindering formation of yet another effective grouping.

“Religious parties can prove a major force if they forge an alliance. It can only be possible if all accept past mistakes and come together to work for the cause of serving the masses and taking the country out of present crises,” he said, while expressing the hope that the religio-political parties would learn from the past experience and work for a bigger national cause.

Listing priorities for an electoral alliance, he said working with other similar parties was easier than secular forces. He said alliance with those having entirely different manifesto was not feasible.

JUI-F Information Secretary Maulana Amjad Khan said the masses were looking to the religious forces as both the PPP and the PML-N had failed to deliver. He said only religio-political parties could fill the political vacuum in the country and face internal and external challenges.

“We are hoping for positive results in next polls. Religious parties have always played a positive role in national politics and worked for resolving the problems of the masses.

“JUI-F supports alliance of religious parties and is working for the revival of MMA. Revival of MMA will help achieving better results in next elections,” he said, adding, alliance of religio-political parties was a top priority.

Ajmal said alliance with secular parties was not viable due to difference in manifestoes and clash of priorities. He said the JUI-F could go for seat adjustments with secular parties instead of entering into an alliance.

Referring to the possible performance of PTI, he said people from different parties could not make a team and fill present vacuum. He said these people could not even understand each other and as such they would not be able to produce good results in next elections.