LAHORE -  The heads of six mainstream religious parties will meet in Islamabad on October 12 to discuss the possibility of their election alliance.

The formation of the religious parties alliance, however, does not seem possible in prevailing scenario or at least its announcement is not expected this year, although a leader claimed the outcome of the meeting was likely the official announcement of the alliance.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) is hosting the meeting with its chief Maulana Fazlur Rehaman in the chair.

Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq along with party Secretary General Liaquat Baloch, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) President Pir Ijaz Hashmi along with party Secretary General Shah Awais Noorani, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith head Professor Sajid Mir and Islami Tehreek head Allama Sajid Naqvi will attend the meeting.

It is not clear so far that whether JUI-S’ Maulana Samiul Haq will be the part of the meeting.

A leader of JUI-F said that the invitation for the meeting was sent to Maulana Sami. The JUI-S chief has longstanding differences with JUI-F head.

All the six parties had formed Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) during Pervez Musharraf’s tenure but it collapsed in 2008.

Maulana Amjad Khan, JUI-F Deputy Secretary General, told The Nation that heads of the parties which were part of the MMA were invited to the meeting. He said that Islamabad sitting was the continuation of previous deliberations to unite mainstream religious parties before the next general elections.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, he said, on different occasions had expressed the desire to unite the religious parties and he (JUI-F head) had formed a committee headed by party secretary general Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri after JUI-F centennial ijtima in Azakhel Nowshera in April 2017.

The committee, on its task, held meetings with leaders of religious parties and presented report to Maulana Fazl.

“The leadership of JUI-F felt an urge for unity among religious parties and hosting the meeting in continuation of this cause,” said Maulana Amjad.

JI spokesperson Ameerul Azeem while talking to The Nation confirmed the JI chief Sirajul Haq along with Secretary General Liaquat Baloch will attend the meeting. He, however, added the announcement of the religious parties alliance was not expected in the first meeting.

“We not only back the efforts for uniting religious parties but also are at forefront in such kind of moves. The unity among religious parties is the need of the hour but the leadership will have to discuss every module before the announcement of the alliance,” he said.

JUP head Pir Ijaz Hashmi also expressed similar views when asked if the religious parties were entering next general elections with unity.

Hashmi said that an alliance of religious parties was not possible until the JUI-F and JI were the allies of PML-N and PTI respectively. He said that he will convey his reservations in the meeting.