Legitimising Pakistan's terror groups by taking the political plunge
Declarations and bans do not make any difference to Pakistan. The modus operandi earlier was to change the names of the outfits to beat the ban and these days terror groups have entered politics to seek legitimacy.
Take the case of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the outfit which carried out the Mumbai 26/11 attacks. It has changed several names to beat bans. It has a financial wing called the Jamaat-ud-Dawa. Now it has launched a political party Milli Muslim League (MML). The new party will be headed by Saifullah Khalid
Experts say that not only does this move give this terror group legitimacy, but it was launched at a time when the political situation in Pakistan is extremely volatile. It is also a well known fact that the boss of this outfit, Hafiz Saeed is a favourite of the ISI and Pakistan army.
What this outfit intend to do?
MML chief Khalid, at the launch ceremony in Islamabad on Monday, outlined that the party kept Saeed in high regard, but stopped short of mentioning what role he would play. There is still no clarity on the role Saeed would play. However, experts indicate that he will play a major role and would be the centric figure once he is released.
Khalid is an old member of the JuD central leadership himself and the group's links to the LeT raise concerns of allowing terror elements access into national politics. The party's chief has announced that they have made the political party so that Pakistan is made a "real Islamic and welfare state".
The new party submitted its registration to Pakistan's Election Commission. The registration is required in order to be able to field candidates for elections. Saeed missed the launch as he is under house arrest.
The MML will closely work with the JuD and the latter's network of thousands of volunteers. The party chief said that he will also also "maintain coordination with JuD and all other like-minded organisations that hold the ideology of Pakistan... we will offer them our cooperation, and accept theirs."
This party starts with an advantage as it has 2 lakh volunteers across Pakistan. Experts view the formation as a game by the ISI and army to legitimise terror groups in the country. Such moves would only give these groups the deniability factor when terror attacks are staged. Moreover declarations and bans too would be beaten with ease with such moves.