Pakistan politics

Pakistan’s Election Commission again refuses to register Hafiz Saeed’s political party

The decision was taken after the Ministry of Interior said it was concerned about the party’s links with the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday dismissed a plea of Milli Muslim League, the political front of Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to register as a political party, reported Geo News.

The Jamaat-ud-Dawa is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group that was allegedly behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 160 people were killed. Saeed is believed to have masterminded the strike.

A four-member bench of the commission said that the decision was taken after the Ministry of Interior expressed reservations because of the party’s alleged links with Saeed, reported Dawn.

The Milli Muslim League denied it had any links with Jamaat-ud-Dawa or that its chief, Saifuddin Khalid, had relations with Saeed. Its lawyer said that the federal government has nothing to do with the registration of a political party and alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was pursuing a personal vendetta against the new party owing to its leader’s links with “some countries”.

This is the second time the Election Commission has rejected the Milli Muslim League’s application to register as a political party. The commission’s previous decision was overturned by the Islamabad High Court in March. The court then directed it to hear the party’s plea and decide the case. The commission subsequently asked the group to get a clearance from the Ministry of Interior.

In April, the United States added Milli Muslim League, along with Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir, to its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations, reasoning that both were fronts of the banned terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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