Pak EC re­jects MML’s plea to regis­ter as po­lit­i­cal party

Financial Chronicle - - FUNDAMENTALS, POLITICS -

IS­LAM­ABAD: Pak­istan’s Elec­tion Com­mis­sion on Wed­nes­day re­jected an ap­pli­ca­tion by the Milli Mus­lim League (MML), the po­lit­i­cal face of Mum­bai at­tack mas­ter­mind Hafiz Saeed’s Ja­mat-ud-Dawah (JuD), to regis­ter it as a po­lit­i­cal party just weeks be­fore na­tional elec­tions.

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan (ECP) was asked by the Is­lam­abad High Court (IHC) to re­view its de­ci­sion of last year through which it re­jected MML’s reg­is­tra­tion bid. A fourmem­ber bench of the com­mis­sion, chaired by its Sindh mem­ber Ab­dul Ghaf­far Soomro, on Wed­nes­day de­cided against al­low­ing the MML to be reg­is­tered as a po­lit­i­cal party. In its short or­der, the bench said that the de­ci­sion had been taken in light of ob­ser­va­tions of the Min­istry of In­te­rior which had ex­pressed its reser­va­tions be­cause of the party’s links with the banned JuD leader Saeed.

The in­te­rior min­istry had op­posed en­list­ing of the MML as a po­lit­i­cal party, ar­gu­ing that it is an off­shoot of the banned JuD. The MML, how­ever, de­nied that it had any links with the JuD or that its chief, Sai­fud­din Khalid, had re­la­tions with Saeed. It said that for­mer rul­ing Pak­istan Mus­lims LeagueNawaz and its lead­er­ship was be­hind re­jec­tion of ap­pli­ca­tion by ECP.

The MML was launched last Au­gust to con­test the July 25 elec­tions. Saeed is al­ready cam­paign­ing for the MML since last month.

In April, the US des­ig­nated the MML as a for­eign ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion, say­ing the banned Lashkar- e-Taiba ( LeT) mem­bers make up MML’s lead­er­ship and the so-called party openly dis­plays Saeed’s like­ness in its elec­tion ban­ners and lit­er­a­ture.

The JuD is be­lieved to be the front or­gan­i­sa­tion for the LeT which is re­spon­si­ble for car­ry­ing out the Mum­bai at­tack that killed 166 peo­ple, in­clud­ing six Amer­i­cans.

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