Pakistan poll panel bars Hafiz Saeed’s party from election

Pakistan poll panel bars Hafiz Saeed’s party from election

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ISLAMABAD: Through a Presidential Ordinance, the government declared earlier this year that any organisation proscribed by the United Nations Security Council would be deemed a banned group in the country.

Pakistan’s Election Commission on Wednesday dismissed an application seeking registration of the Milli Muslim League (MML), the political wing of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah.

A four-member panel based its decision on a report by the interior ministry that said the party followed the ideology of Hafiz Saeed, the head of the JuD and the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The interior ministry relied on details provided by intelligence agencies, officials said.

During the hearing by the Election Commission, the MML’s counsel argued that the federal government could not oppose the registration of any political party based on its possible links with individuals.

“No one can predict if a political party can be affiliated with banned outfits in the future,” the counsel said. “MML leader Saifullah Khalid has no link with Hafiz Saeed.”

At a previous hearing, the commission had sought a detailed report from the interior ministry on the links between MML and JuD. The registration of MML was pending since last year as the interior ministry had been waiting for a report from intelligence agencies.

Through a Presidential Ordinance, the government declared earlier this year that any organisation proscribed by the United Nations Security Council would be deemed a banned group in the country.

When the formation of MML was announced last August, its leaders had said they followed the ideology of the JuD. They had also unveiled plans to contest polls.

In April, the US state department included MML in its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations, describing it as a front for LeT. The group denies any link to LeT or other banned groups.__Dawn.com

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