Pakistan's religious-cum-political parties belonging to Sunni sect have formed a grand alliance to contest the 2018 general elections under its banner.
Former federal minister for religious affairs of Pakistan Peoples Party regime Hamid Saeed Kazmi has been elected the temporary head of 'Nizam-i-Mustafa Grand Alliance'.
A five-member committee has been constituted to prepare the manifesto and constitution of the alliance. The alliance partners will meet on November 20 to finalise its manifesto.
The Sunni alliance has been formed in the backdrop of two religious outfits – Taheek Labaik Ya Rasul Allah and Jamat- ud-Dawah’s Milli Muslim League – performing well in recently held by-poll in Lahore’s NA-120 where ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife Begum Kulsoom won the seat.
Prominent among those joined the Sunni alliance include the Sunni Ittehad Council, Jammiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (Noorani, Jamait Ulema-i-Pakistan, the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek and Jammat-e-Ahley Sunnet.
All the participants resolved that they would contest the next elections from the platform of the alliance so that the Sunni vote bank did not get divided.
The central executive (Shoora) of the alliance will decide about any electoral adjustments ahead of 2018 polls.
After their meeting, the representatives of these parties yesterday issued a declaration saying the alliance had not been formed either on the request or at the behest of "someone".
"This is purely our own decision," it said. "The alliance will also rope in Tehreek Labaik Pakistan and Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasul Allah," it added.
The declaration also demanded action against those responsible for changing text of the oath of the parliamentarians and specifically against Punjab minister for law and parliamentary affairs Rana Sanaullah for his controversial statement regarding Ahmedis.
It demanded Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to categorically declare the "sanctity" of the blasphemy law and dispel impression of it being altered.
Kazmi said the Sunni sect had always favoured peace.
"Peace is hallmark of the sect and will be protected at every cost," he said.