Pakistan Islamist coalition near collapse: party officials

Pakistan's main alliance of Islamist parties was near collapse Tuesday after cancelling a last-ditch meeting to resolve differences over a possible election boycott, party officials said.

Pakistan Islamist coalition near collapse: party officials
The alliance was formed in 2002.

But the six leading parties that constitute the alliance -- the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) or United Action Front -- are split over taking part in the January 8 election amid fears that the polls will be unfair.

"It is an alliance by name only," the alliance's chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, told Geo television.

"We are not dissolving it. We want relations to continue so that at some later stage we could sit together again, once the drama of the fraudulent election is over," he said.

"This election will strengthen the hands of dictatorship," said Ahmed, who heads the hardline Sunni Muslim Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party.

The principal division is between JI, which wants a boycott, and the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), which favours taking part as it has a significant number of parliamentary seats.

JUI chief Fazlur Rehman said his party was making efforts to save the alliance.

"People have a good opinion about us, we have done well in North West Frontier Province (in 2002)," he told state television. "We are trying to save MMA."

Senior MMA leader Liaquat Baloch confirmed that a meeting of the alliance's supreme council scheduled for Tuesday had been called off.

"The reason is that some of the parties have opposed a boycott of elections. It was not possible to reach a unanimous decision," he said.

"A meeting of the alliance leaders would have increased bitterness, so we decided not to hold the meeting."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Aralık 2007, 12:24