LAHORE - The Jamaat-i-Islami sees no chance of the general elections being held during the current year. However, it thinks the government may go for the local elections during the next few months.Jamaat Amir Syed Munawwar Hasan says general elections are uncertain even the next year as many ministers of the Gilani government (which has ceased to exist after a Supreme Court ruling) have been indicating that the term of the National Assembly could be extended by one year. In an interview to TheNation at his Mansoora office, he said it would be difficult for the government to delay the electoral process because in that case it would have to face a mass movement.Asked about the Jamaat’s state of preparedness to contest the next elections, he said as a matter of fact all parties were at par. While the ruling party had its own problems, some of the parties in opposition had one foot in the government and the other in the opposition camp. The Jamaat is in contact with all parties for the purpose of seat adjustments and electoral alliance. Once the elections were announced, the strategy would be made public, he said.Replying to a question, he said all parties, big or small, were in need of electoral adjustments at the national and local levels. The Jamaat was also no exception. He said efforts apart, the real situation would emerge at the time of elections.Questioned as to who would be affected most by the presence of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf in the electoral field, the JI chief said the PML-N would be the major affectee. The PTI, he said, was more active in Punjab, a province where there was also a tussle going on between the PPP and the PML-N. The PML-Q is in alliance with the PPP. Although the PML-Q has many winning horses who can tilt the balance in favour of a party they join hands with, the PPP is less likely to benefit from its ally.According to Munawwar, the PTI chairman faces a serious challenge of transforming his supporters into voters.About the possibility of a Jamaat-PTI alliance, he said both the parties have identical thinking about a number of issues, including corruption, economy and war on terror. Such things, he said, did have their importance in such matters.He defended the Jamaat’s decision to boycott the 2008 elections. However, he said, the gains of the boycott would have been multiplied if other parties, that were initially in favour of staying out of the electoral process in the presence of Gen Musharraf, had not backed out.He said those elected as a result of the 2008 elections were following the agenda of Gen Musharraf, notwithstanding their utterances to the contrary. Even the foreign policy remains unchanged, he complained.Munawwar said elections, no matter how handicapped, were a means to gauge the popularity of political parties and those abstaining from the process are sidelined.He said the Jamaat was still seen active in the field because of its multifarious activities. Asked if he could say in categorical terms that there is no possibility of the Jamaat forming an alliance with the PML-N in view of its consistent criticism of both the PPP and the PML-N that they had failed to deliver in their respective tenures, he said he could not say anything at this juncture. Elaborating, he said: “There is nothing final in politics. Elections are far away and a number of other factors are also unknown.”Munawwar said before going for an understanding with other parties, a number of factors have to be weighed. He said although the governance record of both the PPP and the PML-N was not good, it would be premature for him to say anything about the nature of ties with them in the future. When pointed out that the PTI had become a formidable political force in just 15 years which showed as if something was wrong with the Jamaat, Munawwar said this was not the right yardstick to compare the two parties. He said in Pakistan the same 600 to 700 individuals were elected in all elections. They keep changing their parties. Whichever party they join hands with comes to power.He said for the Jamaat ideology had the top priority. “The Jamaat is preparing the people for a real change.”About the lack of unity among the religio-political parties, Munawwar said in fact religious parties were sect-based. In his opinion if same sect parties got united, the possibility of all religious parties gathering on the same platform would brighten up. He praised the roe of the Defence of Pakistan Council, hoping that at the time of elections an alliance of religio-political parties could become a reality.“In secular Turkey, a religious party is in power, but in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan the religious parties stand nowhere. What has gone wrong?” he was asked.Munawwar said in Turkey secularism was practised as a constitutional obligation, but in Pakistan though Islam was part of the Constitution, it was not practised. “There is difference between action and inaction.”He said religious forces in Turkey capitalised on the situation when there was a reaction against secularism. But in Pakistan the very people who were supposed to implement the Constitution were violating it. Under the Constitution, he said, the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology should be discussed in parliament and used as guidelines for legislation. But the CII recommendations were not given much importance. Likewise, he said, the president of the country should not head a party, but the principle was not being adhered to in Pakistan. He said the Jamaat wanted the enforcement of the 1973 Constitution in its original form. This would make Pakistan an Islamic society. In response to a question about the Balochistan situation, the JI leader said he had seen no separatist movement in the province. However, he said, some intellectuals could have a different opinion.As for the sense of deprivation there, he said there could be 10 per cent deprivation and 90 per cent propagation. He likened the situation in Balochistan to the one created by Sheikh Mujib in the erstwhile East Pakistan. The JI leader was of the view that the destiny of Balochistan would change if only 25 per cent of their resources were spent on the people. The situation in Balochistan, he said, needed a political handling so that the people could be given a sense of participation in the state matters. Also, he said, the ongoing military operation should be stopped.He said just the announcement of a package (Agha-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan) and holding of a cabinet meeting there would not address the issue of sense of deprivation. He said former president Musharraf should be brought to justice for killing Baloch leader Akbar Bugti.Munawwar pinned the responsibility of the unabated killings in Karachi on Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Himself a Karachiite, the Jamaat amir said not a leaf can move in the cosmopolitan city without the consent of the Muttahida.He said the PPP looked intimidated at the hands of the MQM.