Pakistan EC rejects plea to register Saeed’s MML

Islamabad: In a blow to 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s political ambitions, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday rejected an application to register his Milli Muslim League (MML) as a political party.

The general elections in Pakistan are scheduled to be held on July 25.

A four-member bench of the commission, chaired by its Sindh member Abdul Ghaffar Soomro, said the decision had been taken in the light of the observations of the Interior Ministry which had expressed its reservations because of the party’s links with the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader Saeed, Daw online reported.

The MML said that the poll body decision was in violation of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) orders that had asked the Election Commission to decide anew on the registration, and that the authorities were willfully taking away the right of representation of hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis by refusing to register the MML.

The MML’s lawyer said that the government had nothing to do with the registration of a political party and claimed that the PML-N had a personal vendetta with the party owing to its leader’s links with “some countries”, according to the daily.

The ECP had also rejected an earlier application by the MML to register as a political party which was set aside by the IHC in March.

Earlier this year, the US State Department amended its designation of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), identifying the MML and Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir (TAJK) as LeT affiliates, making it impossible for them to register as political parties.