MMA parliamentary party meets today: JI and JUI-F will try to convince each other over resignations issue
* Qazi adamant on resignations, Fazl favours protest movement
By Mohammad Imran and Nauman Tasleem
ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) are expected to lock horns over the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s decision to resign from the National Assembly in protest against the Women’s Protection Bill (WPB), when the MMA parliamentary party starts its two-day meeting today (Wednesday).
“The MMA is facing its worst internal crisis because most members of the central executive committee are in favour of starting a protest movement instead of resigning from the National Assembly,” party sources told Daily Times, adding that MMA President Qazi Hussain Ahmed was not in favour of withdrawing the supreme council’s decision to resign from the assemblies.
The sources said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman would have a hard time convincing the MMA leaders not to resign because some members of his JUI-F including Hafiz Hussain Ahmed wanted to resign in protest against the WPB. They added that two members of another MMA component party – Dr Farida Ahmed and Sahibzada Dr Muhammad Abu Zubair of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan – had already announced their resignation from the National Assembly.
The sources said that Fazl had directed the JUI-F provincial central executive committees to hold meetings and pass resolutions against resignations from the National Assembly. They added that Fazl had used a similar strategy when the MMA was divided on his and NWFP Chief Minister Akram Khan Durrani’s participation in the National Security Council meetings. The sources said that Fazl had also directed his party workers not to participate in demonstrations organised by the MMA over the WPB.
Meanwhile, MMA sources told Daily Times in Lahore that the JI would pressure the JUI-F to resign from the National Assembly when the parliamentary party of the religious alliance meets today.
The sources said that JI would stand by its resignation decision and try to convince the JUI-F that going back on the decision would harm the MMA’s political interests. They added that most of the MMA leaders believed that resigning from the National Assembly would strengthen the party’s public support.
Bakhtiar Mani, a JI MNA from the NWFP, said that most of the people in the NWFP considered the WPB un-Islamic and compromising on the bill would hurt the MMA’s popularity in the province. JI Central Deputy Secretary Fareed Ahmed Piracha said that early resignations would help the MMA secure a huge victory in the next general elections.
Some JUI-F MNAs said that they were not in favour of resigning from the National Assembly because it would give “anti-Islamic” forces a free hand, but they said they would follow the decision of their leadership.
“I personally feel that resigning from the assemblies now will help the MMA in the general elections, but I’ll follow the party leadership’s decision,” said Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a central leader of the JUI-F who was the only person from his party to attend the JI’s rally against the WPB on November 30.
“I am not in favour of resigning but if the party decides then I’ll submit my resignation,” said Naseeb Ali Shah, a JUI-F MNA from Bannu. He said that the resignations would weaken the MMA and pave the way for martial law.
Qari Abdul Bais Siddiqui, a JUI-F MNA from Swat, said that the MMA would get more benefit by not resigning from the National Assembly. However, he said that he would follow the decision of his leadership.