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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Maulana Fazlur Rehman chairs a genuinely ‘divided MPC’: Here are some facts

News Analysis |

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, President of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), has threatened to disrupt the political process in the country if the results of General Elections 2018 are not declared “null and void”. The MMA president chaired a Multi-party conference (MPC) along with the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad. The MPC was called by the MMA president who lost the elections two days back. Maulana seemed angry and frustrated due to his electoral defeat in his constituency. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf got a simple majority in KPK and whitewashed its rivals.

MPC rejected the General Election 2018 and demanded ‘free and fair’ re-election across the country.

“The All Parties Conference has completely rejected the July 25, 2018 elections with consensus,” announced Rehman while addressing the media after the PML-N-hosted conference concluded. “We do not consider this election to be the mandate of the public,” said defeated MMA president.

Read more: PTI likely to lead in Punjab Assembly, media reports

In attendance at the MPC were Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq, Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman, Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, Qaumi Watan Party chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, National Party’s Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai and several MMA leaders.

PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Chaudhry Tanveer and Khurram Dastagir and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) leaders Mustafa Kamal, Raza Haroon and Waseem Ahmed also participated.

MQM-P’s Dr Farooq Sattar also participated in the conference. Sattar’s party is reportedly in contact with the PTI to form an alliance to make government in the centre.

Maulana’s MMA whitewashed in the General Elections 2018

Surprisingly, the combined strength of contestants of three religious parties, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP), Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP), was more than the candidates fielded by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).

MMA, an alliance of five Islamic parties – Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith, Islami Tehreek and Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan –could manage to get a dozen Provincial Assembly seats mainly from the traditional stronghold of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).

Read more: Aliens did not beat PMLN in elections, the common man did

Whereas the former ruling party in the KPK, PTI, managed to get 66 seats. PTI has again simple majority to form a government in the province without anyone’s help. It is important to mention here that it is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a single party got elected second times from KPK.

Interestingly, Awami National Party leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour has conceded openly and termed Imran Khan as “popular leader”.  “The results indicate that Imran Khan is a favourite leader of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. I am a democratic person and I admit the defeat,” Mr Bilour said.

A “divided MPC”

Pakistan’s mainstream political parties, PPP and PML-N, have reservations about the outcomes of the General Elections 2018 but both parties have taken different paths to voice against the alleged rigging. The PPP has said that it does not reject the complete results outright rather it has questions about the electoral process.  Later on, the PPP Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that his party rejects election results but, at the same time, the PPP is going to play a role of an exemplary opposition in the national assembly. Since the PPP has managed to get a simple majority in Sindh and it is interested to form a government in the province. Hence, PPP can’t afford to boycott the National Assembly.

In this regard, a prominent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir said that “Anti PTI political parties rejected election results but they r divided how to move forward MMA saying they will not take oath in parliament PML-N said they need some time for consultation PPP said don’t leave parliament but demanded resignation of Chief Election Commissioner”

Similarly, PML-N has gotten 127 seats in Punjab. And it is interested to form a government in the province. “In Punjab, PML-N has 127 seats, PTI has 118, while 27, who are independent, share our ideology. Our people are in touch with them,” said Hamza Shahbaz, son of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif. This clearly indicates that the PML-N is putting pressure on PTI to let it form the government in the province. Since the PTI leader, Naeemul Haq has said “We have required numbers to form the government in Punjab. We are also in touch with the independent candidates, with whom we will form the government.” This is unacceptable for PML-N at the moment.

Read more: Pakistan political parties demand new elections as Khan wins

Moreover, MQM-P apparently attended MPC to get a better deal while forming an alliance with the PTI to form a government in the centre.

The real loser is Maulana and his allies in the KPK who have no other option except to protest and disrupt the political process in the country. It is, however, evident that the divided MPC won’t make any difference since the elections were ‘free and fair’ as declared by many Pakistani commentators and observers and Imran Khan has had popular acceptance. Meanwhile, PPP has decided to form the government in Sindh and play a role of opposition in the National Assembly.