MMA-Democracy Interface in Pakistan: From Natural Confrontation to Cohabitation?

Dr. Ashutosh Mishra was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • April 2006

    The myth regarding religious parties in Pakistan possessing street power sans political power was broken with the success of the Muttahida Majlise Amal’s (MMA)—a coalition of Muslim parties and groups— in the 2002 general elections. The party sprung to power for a variety of reasons including the support it received from General Musharraf’s military establishment. The MMA on several occasions facilitated Musharraf’s political schema in the hope for larger political favours, drawing severe criticism from both within and outside the party. The electoral experience of the MMA so far has been mixed as it has earned both rewards and brickbats. It now stands at a point from where it is trying to resurrect its lost credibility and convince other mainstream parties of its political bona fide. The rise of the MMA has added a new dimension to political jostling and power play in Pakistan and so far has helped the authoritarian forces. Would it continue to side with the military in the decades old civil and military struggle in Pakistan or would be forced in the emerging political configuration to join the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan remains somewhat an open question.

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