ISLAMABAD -  After the revival of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, the leadership of the component parties was busy finalising office-bearers of the alliance as well as narrowing down differences on contentious matters.

A steering committee comprising the central leaders of the component parties was already in place to deal with these matters and the final report of the committee would be presented at the next meeting of the alliance scheduled for January 18, 2018, in Lahore, where Jamiat-i-Ahle Hadith chief Senator Sajid Mir would host the session.

Sources aware of the developments told The Nation that though the leadership of MMA component parties was downplaying the differences on some contentious matters, some of the issues were quite serious like the conflicting position of the Jamaat-i-Islami and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl on the Fata reforms issue.

It is due to the hardened positions taken by both the parties on the issue that at the time of announcing the revival of the MMA last week, the issue of FATA reforms was referred to the steering committee to decide in a month time besides settling down other issues between the component parties.

Jamaat-i-Islami Naib Amir Liaquat Baloch, who is also a member of the steering committee, said that it was gracious on part of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that he agreed to resolve the FATA reforms issue through negotiations and the matter was referred to the steering committee.

He said that for a big cause the parties have to make sacrifices and he sounded quite optimistic to convince the JUI-F about their viewpoint on the FATA reforms issue.

To a question, Baloch said that as already said by the component parties leadership the issue of quitting the governments by the member parties would be a non-issue while other issues including the announcement of office-bearers of the revived religious parties alliance would also be resolved amicably.

Baloch said that they were also working on the possibility of including other religious parties in the MMA-fold and in this connection, they were in contact with parties.

Previously, prior to the formal announcement of MMA revival, efforts were made to bring the Milli Yakjahti Council into the MMA fold, but it did not materialize, and now efforts are afoot to persuade some major parties in the council to join the alliance.

Baloch said that JUI-F central leader Akram Khan Durrani, Maulana Anus Noorani, Rana Mohammad Mateen and others are part of the steering committee and they would present their report at the next meeting of the alliance.

JUI-F Secretary-General and Deputy Chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that the next meeting of the MMA would be held in Lahore on January 18 and Jamiat-i-Ahle Hadith chief Senator Sajid Mir would be the host.

The decision to revive the alliance was announced last Wednesday by Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) chief Shah Owais Noorani at his residence in Karachi where the central leadership of the six component parties of the alliance was present.

They included JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, JI chief Sirajul Haq, Jamiat Ahle Hadith chief Allama Sajid Mir and Tehreek-i-Islami chief Allama Sajid Naqvi.

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 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.