More than 200 MML candidates in election race despite denial of registration

Wed, 2018-06-13 20:38

KARACHI: More than 200 candidates of the Milli Muslim League (MML) will contest seats in the national and four provincial assemblies of Pakistan under the umbrella of Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) canceled its registration as a political party.
“More than 200 candidates of the MML will contest elections with symbol of a chair and as candidates of AAT, with which we have made election alliance,” the MML Karachi spokesman and candidate for the constituency PS-111, Muhammad Asif, told Arab News.
According to the ECP website, the election body has allotted election symbols to 103 political parties. Allah-o-Akbar Party, present in the list at No-9, has been allotted a chair as the symbol.
Asif said the AAT was registered with the ECP some 15 years ago and contested the 2013 general elections with a cow as the party symbol.
According to an MML spokesman, the party is also in the process of forging an electoral alliance with different factions of Pakistan Muslim League sans??? Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N).
“We expect that election alliance will be announced in the next couple of days,” Asif said, adding that the party was also in talks with the Sindh’s Grand Democratic Alliance, led by Chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional Pir Pagara, Pir Sibghatullah Rashidi, for seat adjustments in Karachi.
On Wednesday, a four-member bench of the ECP decided against registering MML as a political party based on a report by the Interior Ministry which expressed reservations over the MML having links with Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which has been declared by the US as a terrorist organization.
The MML central spokesperson, Tabish Qayyum, rejected the Interior Ministry’s report. “Despite Islamabad High Court’s clear decision, it is highly regrettable not to enlist MML. Governmental officials are using illegal and non-constitutional ways to please foreign powers,” he told Arab News.
“The government is creating obstacles in the registration of MML due to Indian pressure,” he continued.
“MML is a peaceful political party and has the right to continue its political activities, which are exactly in accordance with the law and constitution,” Qayyum said.
Qayyum says the party will soon release a list of its candidates, but he confirmed that Muzammal Iqbal Hashimi and Talha Saeed from the top leadership will contest elections. Hashimi, along with MML central president Saifullah Khalid and five others, was placed on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on April 2.
A day earlier, the MML announced the names of 24 candidates who would contest different national and provincial assembly constituencies of Karachi.
According to a handout sent to Arab News, the MML has fielded its central leader Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi in NA-242 and NA-243. Mudassir Chaudary Advocate and Ataullah will contest NA-244 and NA-250, while a female candidate will be the party’s contender for NA-251.
The party has fielded Muhammad Anees Ansar, Imran Saleem, Moiz Shehzad, Ali Gabol, Muhammad, Fahad Yusuf, Hakeem Sajid and Ubaid for the seats of the provincial assembly. Mudassir Chaudary Advocate, Muhammad Asif, Chaudary Ejaz, Amjad Islam Amjad, Nadir Khan, Imdad Ali, Zahid Anwar, Sher Bahadur, Naseer Ahmed and Abdul Waheed Bandhani and Ahsan Habib are also the party candidates on different provincial assembly seats.
The Milli Muslim League, a group proscribed by the US in 2018, had announced it would push for its registration as a political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan but if that failed it would field independent candidates from across Pakistan.

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