Pak govt asks court to deny clearance to Hafiz Saeed’s political party

Islamabad: The Pakistan government has requested a court here not to consider Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-backed Milli Muslim League’s plea seeking its registration as a political party, saying the group would breed violence and extremism in politics.

Saeed earlier this month had confirmed that his organisation Jammat-ud-Dawah (JuD) would contest the 2018 general elections under the banner of the Milli Muslim League (MML).

The MML had challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan’s order on October 11 that had declined its registration as a political party.

The interior ministry, in its written reply submitted to the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on the MML’s petition, said that it opposed the group’s registration as a political party as the group was an offshoot of proscribed entities.

Dawn newspaper reported that the government requested the court not to consider the MML’s plea and dismiss the petition.

The ministry formed its opinion on the basis of a security agency’s report which expressed apprehensions that the registration of the MML as a political party “would breed violence and extremism in politics”.

According to the ministry’s reply to the court, the MML is the offshoot of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD).

According to Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002, organisations which act in the manner prejudicial to fundamental rights, undermine the integrity of Pakistan, promote sectarian, regional or provincial hatred, bear a name as a militant group and impart any military or paramilitary training to its members, do not qualify for registration as political party.

In it reply to the court, the interior ministry said a security agency had opined that “it is difficult to believe that the MML will tread its own path, completely at variance with its mother (LeT and JuD) organisations.”

The agency “recommended that since registration of such groups would breed violence and extremism in politics, such groups be avoided,” it said.

According to the reply, the LeT, JuD and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) are facing UN sanctions, therefore, the interior ministry “furnished comments to the ECP that the registration of the MML, an offshoot of the same network of JuD/FIF (which apparent in MML as well), was not supported”.

The JuD chief walked free on November 24 after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under detention since January this year.

The MML had contested a bypoll in September for NA-120, a National Assembly seat that had fallen vacant following disqualification of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sheikh Yaqub, MML candidate, had secured 6,000 votes.

Yaqub was placed in 2012 on a US Treasury sanctions list of those designated as leaders of terrorist organisations. (PTI)

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