ISLAMABAD: Raising red flags at the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) inquiry prior to registering Milli Muslim League (MML) as a political party, the Ministry of Interior urged ECP to avoid registering MML as a political entity, maintaining that allowing such parties to flourish will fuel violence and extremism in domestic politics.
The ministry’s decision comes just a day after a parliamentary panel castigated the election supervisory body for allowing MML, which is a political offshoot of Jamatud Dawa (JuD) to contest by-poll in NA-120.
The ECP replied that the MML candidate had contested the poll as an independent candidate, adding that it had sought clearance from the interior ministry.
MML’s candidate, Yaqoob Sheikh, got 5,822 votes on September 17, surprising everyone.
In its fresh letter, the interior ministry told the ECP that it had decided not to support MML’s registration on the basis of recommendations received from the Foreign office and intelligence agencies.
Referring to ECP reminders, the ministry stated Ministry of Foreign Affairs had ruled that both JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) were proscribed organisations.
The ministry stated that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was repeatedly informed that these organisations were banned under a 1948 law.
At a time when reply from one agency was still awaited, the ministry went ahead and termed the participation of such parties a “serious issue … neutralising the gains of NAP”.
It further stated: “… It is difficult to believe that MML will tread its own path completely at variance with its mother organisation (JuD).”
The interior ministry’s correspondence with the ministry of foreign affairs highlighted the latter’s concern about international obligations and commitment to National Action Plan (NAP).
Foreign ministry recommended the ministry to ask the ECP to avoid registering MML.
Referring to MML’s participation in recent polls, the letter stated that serious reservations had been expressed at diplomatic level.
Drawing parallels, the ministry also stated that the MML “is ideologically affiliated with JuD and equally there is evidence to substantiate that Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT), JuD and FIF are affiliates and are ideologically of the same shade”.
LeT was proscribed in January 2002, whereas JuD and FIF were placed under restrictions in January this year. Restrictions upon these organisations was extended till January next year under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.
MML had announced founding of the political party on August 7 this year. Saifullah Khalid, the son-in-law of the JuD chief Hafiz Saeed, was named as its president. Hafiz Saeed is under house arrest these days.
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