De-intellectualised Islamist political leaders are attempting to harvest what the visionaries of political Islam in Pakistan sketched out decades ago. The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) has been revived after ten years. The organisation comprises of five confessional parties, which have been shaped to contest the national elections this year. The five parties certainly aren’t on the same page regarding various issues, but the MMA has been revived nonetheless because Islamist leaders believe it is time for the spiritual sanitisation of their supporters. Perhaps through collective sanitisation, they can make changes on a larger scale and can achieve their preferred outcome for the elections. This should be a cause for concern. According to the MMA, the last time it reared its head was because of anti-US sentiments, which were ripe because of American invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq. But many believe MMA was a construct of General Pervez Musharraf. This time, however, the MMA says that a collective campaign is needed for the glory of Islam. MMA considers itself a consortium of political parties which believe in evolution and not revolution, and wants to use American discriminatory policies in Muslim world as apolitical tool, blaming the Western powers for the conflicts in the Muslim world. The Trump administration’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will likely fit into the MMA narrative, as well as the Rohingya Genocide in Myanmar. The MMA alliance poses the risk of turning Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) back into a bastion of right wing religious politics, after it was captured by Imran Khan’s PTI — which has also began increasingly leaning towards the right in recent years.This seems like a step by Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which had lost political space in wake of PTI’s victory in KP.In The KP assembly, PTI has 61 seats, in comparison the JUI-F and JI have a mere 23 seats. This also shows that the creation of the MMA might not bear the fruits KP’s Islamists expect it to. Nonetheless, the PTI has countered the MMA by separating Maulana Samiul Haq from the alliance, and giving incentives to his seminary. Sami ul Haq is not a part of the MMA, however his party was in the MMA in 2002. Indicating that the PTI has been successful. The PTI won KP in 2013 because it promised the youth a change in their lives. This is something young people know Islamists cannot deliver However, the PTI has also compromised its own political position in doing so. PTI routinely criticises the JUI-F, saying the party makes alliances with right wing and centrist parties so that they can be a part of the government. Now the PTI has allied with Samiul Haq, who is known as the father of the Taliban. It doesn’t get any more right wing Islamist than this. Sadly, such is the nature of politics. PTI’s victory in 2013 was a political earthquake in right wing KP. It is said that if you want to change politics then change the constituency’s culture. To change culture, one has to change the cultural units. PTI has actually changed the culture of politics, which made it popular among the youth and certain progressive circles. Observing this, the PML-N and PPP had to change their style of politics as well. The PTI won KP in 2013 because it promised the youth change. This is something young people know Islamists cannot deliver. This is what has them worried, and motivated them to unite to deal with the PTI together. The MMA alliance is an attempt to retain KP, they know they can’t accomplish anything at the federal level. The MMA will fight hard to ensure its own survival and to keep its vote base intact. Last time, the MMA was able to win 50 seats in the 2002 elections. In 2013, the JUI-F and JI won thirteen and 3 seats respectively. Let’s see how they perform this time around. The writer is Strategic and Political analyst. He teaches international politics in NUML Islamabad Published in Daily Times, March 26th 2018.