Pakistan politics

Pakistan: Members of Hafiz Saeed’s political party to contest polls from another platform

The Election Commission has refused to register Milli Muslim League as a political party because of its links with the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks.

A day after the Election Commission of Pakistan dismissed a plea by Milli Muslim League, the political front of Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa, to register as a political party, around 200 of its candidates will contest the general elections from another platform, the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, reported The Express Tribune.

A four-member bench of the Election Commission had said on Wednesday that the decision to dismiss Milli Muslim League’s plea was made after the Ministry of Interior expressed reservations because of the party’s alleged links with Saeed, reported Dawn.

The Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek is headed by Mian Ihsan Bari and headquartered in Bahawalnagar district in Punjab province, according to the Election Commission’s website. Pakistan is set to hold a general election on July 25 to choose representatives for the National Assembly and four provincial assemblies.

An office bearer of Milli Muslim League told The Express Tribune that the interior ministry in its letter to the commission had falsely claimed that Saifullah Khalid, the party president, is Saeed’s son-in-law. “In fact they are not even distant relatives,” he said.

The Milli Muslim League has announced that candidates backed by the group will contest under the banner of Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek if they do not get a remedy from higher courts before elections.

Party counsel Rizwan Abbasi said the federal government cannot oppose the registration of any political party. “No one can predict if a political party will affiliate with banned outfits in the future,” he said, adding that Saifullah Khalid had no links with Saeed.

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.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

Play

The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.