Hafiz Saeed not to contest Pakistan polls but JuD to run in over 200 seats
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Hafiz Saeed not to contest Pakistan polls but JuD to run in over 200 seats

Hafiz Saeed’s JuD will contest the Pakistan polls on the platform of a “dormant” political entity, the Allaha-u-Akbar Tehreek (AAT), registered with the election commission

world Updated: Jun 09, 2018 23:35 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Hafiz Saeed,Pakistan,JuD
Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistani religious party, Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) addresses a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, in April 2018. JuD, a front for the Lashkar-e- Taiba, launched MML in 2017 but was not registered by the Election Commission of Pakistan.(AP File Photo)

Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed is not contesting Pakistan’s general elections and his political party has not been registered by the Election Commission, but that hasn’t deterred the JuD from fielding hundreds of candidates for polls to the Parliament and provincial assemblies.

The JuD launched its political front, the Milli Muslim League (MML) last year, but it has not been registered by the Election Commission. The group has now decided to contest the July 25 elections through a dormant political entity, the Allah-hu-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) that is registered with the poll panel.

“MML president Saifullah Khalid and AAT chief Ehsan Bari have agreed to field joint candidates on the platform of AAT in the upcoming elections. Under a seat adjustment, the MML will field more than 200 educated candidates,” MML spokesperson Ahmad Nadeem told the media.

“They will contest the elections on the AAT’s election symbol, a chair,” he said, adding a number of political figures who joined the MML had been given AAT tickets.

Asked whether Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba and the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, plans to run as a parliamentary candidate, Nadeem said: “No…Hafiz sab has no such plans at the moment. The MML is taking part for the first time in the general elections and hopefully, we will make it to the Parliament.”

Replying to another question on whether any “significant leader” of the JuD would contest the polls, he said: “Our priority is that those joining us from other political parties or educated youth in respective constituencies be given AAT tickets.”

He said AAT will launch its political campaign once its candidates file their nomination papers. MML president Saifullah Khalid will make a formal announcement regarding this shortly, he added.

JuD also had the option of supporting the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), an alliance of religious parties but Saeed chose to contest independently, a party member said.

Last year, talking to a group of senior columnists at Jamia Qadsia, Saeed had said the decision to float his own party in the political arena was aimed at helping “highlight the Kashmir cause internationally”.

He said India is lobbying around the world to malign the Kashmir cause and the government in Islamabad had bowed down to appease New Delhi. “This is the right time to enter the country’s politics to persuade the world community by establishing an independent foreign desk to highlight the Kashmir cause,” he had said.

The interior ministry has opposed the recognition of the MML by the Election Commission, arguing it is a front for the JuD, which has been sanctioned by the UN Security Council.

The MML was formed when Saeed, who carries a bounty of $10 million on his head, was under house arrest last year. In April, the US state department designated the MML a front for the LeT.

First Published: Jun 09, 2018 11:28 IST