LAHORE, March 30: Candidates of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat have filed nomination papers to contest the general election in various Punjab constituencies.
These include Jhang, Kabirwala (Khanewal) and Haroonabad (Bahawalnagar).
As the ASWJ led by Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi has not yet registered the party with the ECP, it has fielded candidates on Muttahida Deeni Mahaz (MDM/United Religious Front) platform.
NA-89 (Jhang) is the ASWJ stronghold where Maulana Muhammad Azam Tariq (the then SSP chief) had won the general election as an independent candidate by obtaining 41,425 votes, defeating Dr Tahirul Qadri of the Pakistan Awami Tehrik who bagged 34,183 votes in the 2002 general election.
In 2008, Ludhianvi remained runner-up as an independent candidate with 45,216 votes. His rival Sheikh Waqas Akram (PML-Q) bagged 51,976 votes.
“Since ASWJ is not registered with the ECP, its candidates will contest elections on the platform of MDM,” claimed Maqsood Ali, a close associate of Ludhianvi.
Maqsood told Dawn that the MDM had been allotted the symbol of seerhi (ladder).
Ludhianvi filed his nomination papers in NA-89 in Jhang. He claimed that since ASWJ had a major vote bank in various parts of the province, its candidates including Maulana Abdul Khaliq Rehmani from NA-156 (Kabirwala/Khanewal-1), Maulana Rehan Farooqi (son of Maulana Ziaur Rehman Farooqi) from Haroonabad (Bahawalnagar) and Khalifa Abdul Qayyum from DG Khan had filed their papers.
“We have also a considerable vote bank in Ahmedpur Sharqia (Bahawalpur), Muzaffargarh, Murree, Sargodha and some other cities,” he claimed. He said the MDM was a conglomerate of six religious parties.
Meanwhile, the Jamaatud Dawa leadership has announced supporting the democratic process. Maulana Amir Hamza of the party said it was the only way to pull the country out of the crisis.
Asked about an interview of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed aired by a private news channel in which he indicated his party’s possible support to the PTI, he denied it and said: “Actually Hafiz Sahib had said the JuD voters are at liberty to vote anyone including the PTI.”