Asia ‘Level playing field’ demanded ahead of Pakistan polls

‘Level playing field’ demanded ahead of Pakistan polls

Image result for Maulana Fazlur Rehman
Maulana Fazlur Rehman

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), a major political alliance of five religious parties in Pakistan, has voiced concerns over “threatening environment” ahead of July 25 general elections in the country. 

“The terrorists attacks on political rallies is aimed at spreading fears among the political workers […] this is the responsibility of the election commission and caretaker government to ensure the security of all candidates and provide a level playing field to all political parties for their election campaign,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the MMA chief, told Anadolu Agency.

At least 160 people, including two candidates, were killed in explosions that targeted the election rallies of MMA, Awami National Party and Balochistan Awami Party’s in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces last week.

Referring to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf of former cricket hero Imran Khan, Rehman pointed out that only one political party is “freely running its election campaign,” while other parties are facing security threats.

Meanwhile, Siraj ul Haq, the head of Jamat-e-Islami and deputy head of MMA, also warned that the whole election process will be questioned inside and outside the country if polls are held in such “threatening environment.”

The alliance is a combination of five religious parties belonging to all major Sunni and Shia schools of thought in Pakistan. The parties included Jamat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, Tehrik-e-Islami and Jamiat Ahle-Hadith.

Founded in 2002, The MMA had surprised the political pundits by emerging as the third largest group in the National Assembly, and the majority party in KP and Balochistan provinces in 2002 general elections.

The alliance, however remained dormant for a decade due to differences between the two major components — Jamat-e-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam.

The MMA leaders said they reconstituted the alliance to “rescue” the country from elements, who are planning to damage the “Islamic identity of Pakistan.” 

According to the MMA’s manifesto, Islamic welfare state would be established where the parliament will form the foreign, interior and defense policies of the country. “Free health and education facilities will ensure for the public and the current usury system in the country will be abolished,” the manifesto read.

Haq lamented the involvement of “some powerful circles” in the politics and said democracy in the country is “under siege.”  

“We never saw free and fair elections in Pakistan. Local feudal lords and powerful circles fix elections and distribute seats among their own people,” he added.

Haq announced to launch a country-wide movement against the status-quo in the country after July 25 election.

– Turkish model of development

Speaking about the Turkey’s development, Haq said Turkish voters chose honest leadership of Justice and Development (AK) Party. He said Turkey has become an economic power under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkish voters are educated and they know who is sincere with them. In Pakistan, the situation is different, but I hope the nation will vote for the honest leadership this time,” Haq maintained. 

He pledged to follow Turkey’s model of development after coming to power.