A new political party called Pakistan Markazi Muslim League, thought to represent a new face of the outlawed groups of the architect of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed, would run in the general elections on February 8.
According to a BBC Urdu report, alluded to by India Today, several of the candidates this organisation has nominated from various towns in Pakistan are either Hafiz Saeed’s relatives or have previously been affiliated with the outlawed Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or Milli Muslim League.
Saeed, who is being held in a Lahore jail, has been found guilty of financing terrorism multiple times and has received sentences totaling 31 years from Pakistan’s anti-terrorist courts.
On December 10, 2008, the UN added him to its list of “global terrorists,” The India Today report added.
In addition, Pakistan included the LeT, JuD, and its affiliated parties and institutions in the list of prohibited organisations. These included the Falah Insaniyat Foundation, Al-Anfal Trust, Khamtab Khalq Institution, Al-Dawwat Al-Arshad, Al-Hamad Trust, Al-Madinah Foundation, and Mu’az bin Jabal Educational Trust.
However, a party official denied having any connection to Saeed’s organisations.
According to the report, Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed is standing for election on behalf of the Markazi Muslim League party from National Assembly Constituency NA-122 in Lahore. Khawaja Saad Rafique, a former federal minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, is also running from this constituency.
Saeed’s son-in-law Hafiz Nek Gujjar is contesting on the Markazi Muslim League ticket from the Provincial Assembly constituency PP-162.
The Milli Muslim League is not listed as a banned party in Pakistan. Nonetheless, in 2018, the US Treasury Department proclaimed the party to be prohibited, with the State Department’s consent, and seven of its members were added to the list of “global terrorists.”
Those who were labeled “international terrorists” by the United States were Muhammad Haris Dar, Tabish Qayyum, Fayyaz Ahmed, Faisal Nadeem, Muhammad Ehsan, and Saifullah Khalid. They were charged with belonging to the banned LeT.
Four of the seven Milli Muslim League members that the US banned are Makazi Muslim League candidates running for seats in the Punjab and Sindh assemblies.
While Muhammad Haris Dar and Muzmal Iqbal Hashmi are running for the National Assembly seats NA-129 and NA-77 in Punjab province, Muhammad Fayyaz Ahmed and Faisal Nadeem Shaikh are contesting for the provincial assembly seats PS-43 and PS-64 from Sindh province.
The Markazi Muslim League’s Hanzala Imad said that none of their candidates were connected to any prohibited parties or engaged in any unlawful conduct.
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