A New JUI

The past week saw a new faction coming to the surface from within the cracks of JUI-F. The PDM alliance’s president Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman’s recent statements seemed to have taken many in his own party by surprise and dissent has followed. And on Tuesday, this culminated in the announcement of a JUI-Pakistan, headed by Maulana Muhammad Khan Sherani; splitting from the Fazl-led JUI-F.

The effect that this will have on the party itself will be minimal, at least in the short run. Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman has led JUI-F and has been in complete control for years. A breakaway faction does not hurt him, because of his own grip on the party.

Resultantly, for other political leaders to carve out a separate trajectory for themselves, splitting from Maulana Fazl’s brand was absolutely necessary. Maulana Sherani and others in the new party are now free to follow their own path, which looks to be leaning towards the government’s narrative, instead of going back into the PDM fold.

What this does is give the government the opportunity to coax another potential ally into its camp. Quite naturally, JUI-P lacks any operational capacity right now; Maulana Sherani has promised that he will visit various parts of Pakistan to rally more support in the party’s name. There is also the expectation that Sherani himself will take a more prominent position in the hierarchy of the newly-formed party compared to JUI-F.

The ruling party can use the split as an example of why Maulana Fazl’s narrative is flawed; one that even erstwhile members of his party could not get behind. This will give it more ammunition against the PDM alliance. But beyond this minor benefit of using the new party as validation, PTI might not be too interested in seeking out friendship with a faction that does not possess any relevance as of yet within the minds of the electorate. For JUI-P to be more relevant, a long road still lies ahead.

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