Pak. govt. against registration of Hafiz Saeed's JuD's political wing as political party

Interior Ministry cites international pressure and refusal of security clearance by intelligence agencies.

September 26, 2017 01:11 pm | Updated 02:00 pm IST - Karachi

Hafiz Saeed. File photo

Hafiz Saeed. File photo

Pakistan's Interior Ministry on Tuesday opposed the registration of the political wing of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the Milli Muslim League (MML), as a political party, citing international pressure and refusal of security clearance by intelligence agencies. It stated that some countries have raised the issue diplomatically expressing concern over the MML.

In a letter to the Election Commission, which is considering the application of the MML, the Interior Ministry said the JuD and its charity wing, Falah-i-Insaaniyat, are under sanctions within the country and internationally as well.

The MML was launched last month and even fielded a candidate in an independent capacity in a by-election that fell vacant due to the disqualification of the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. Despite fielding the candidate in NA-120 Lahore, the MML used a social media campaign with the JuD head Hafiz Saeed's photographs on the banners. It also used social media platforms to campaign for the candidate who bagged 5,800 votes.

The campaign was anti-India and accused the ruling party PML(N) and Mr. Sharif of being pro-India.

The candidate lost the election but got more votes than the mainstream Pakistan People's Party and the Jamaat-i-Islami. The MML has already announced it would field its candidate in the upcoming Peshawar by-election on October 26.

The Election Commission had written to the Interior Ministry enquiring about its stance on the registration of the MML.

U.S. sends protest note

Sources told The Hindu that the United States of America had sent a written protest note over the MML and its political role while several other countries have also expressed their concern.

Saeed remained a declared global terrorist by the U.N and the U.S for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. The U.S has put a bounty of US$ 10 million on his head.

Saeed was put under house arrest in January this year and the authorities kept extending his detention. No formal charges have been filed against him so far.

Saeed challenged his detention in the Lahore High Court, alleging that his arrest was due to U.S pressure and he had never been charged for any crime. The case is pending.

Sharif expresses concern

Mr. Sharif said banned organisations contesting in elections was a matter of grave concern for the democratic forces in the country.

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