In first political move, Hafiz Saeed opens party office in Lahore; eyes 2018 elections in Pak
Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed has opened the first office of the Milli Muslim League or MML in Lahore, days after the Pakistan government said the group would breed violence and extremism in politics while opposing a plea seeking its registration as a political party.
Hafiz Saeed has confirmed that his terror outfit Jammat-ud-Dawa or JuD would contest the 2018 general elections in Pakistan under the banner of the Milli Muslim League. MML is the offshoot of the banned terror organisations Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD).
The MML had challenged Pakistan Election Commission's order in October that had declined its registration as a political party.
Hafiz Saeed on Sunday inaugurated the office in Lahore's National Assembly-120 constituency from where a member of terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa contested by-polls in September.
Despite refusal from Pakistan's interior ministry to register the MML as a political party, Hafiz Saeed pressed ahead with his plans to take the political plunge.
The Pakistan government has requested a court in Islamabad not to consider Hafiz Saeed-backed MML's plea seeking its registration as a political party, saying the group would breed violence and extremism in politics.
Pakistan's interior ministry has categorically made it clear that the state will not allow mainstreaming of jihadi and terror outfits. Hafiz Saeed's visit and opening of a political office in Lahore indicate that he has ambitious plans to enter into politics.
Terror group Jamaat-ud-Dawa's headquarters in Chauburji also falls in Pakistan's National Assembly-120. In the September polls, the MML had secured the fourth position with 6,000 votes, double that of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-i-Islami combined.
Hafiz Saeed, who carries a bounty of $10 million announced by the US for his involvement terror activities, walked free on November 24 after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under detention since January this year.
Jamaat-ud-Dawa is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 166 people were killed.