The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday rejected the Milli Muslim League's (MML) application for registration as a political party.

The Ministry of Interior, in a letter, had asked the ECP to ban the newly-formed political party, arguing that it had ties to banned militant outfits.

Earlier in the day, while hearing the MML lawyer's arguments on the matter, the ECP chief election commissioner repeatedly suggested that the party should clear its name with the interior ministry.

The MML's counsel, on the other hand, questioned under which law the party should consult the interior ministry when it had fulfilled the set criteria of the ECP for any political party's registration.

"The interior ministry's letter mentions that the MML is backed by banned terrorist outfits," the ECP chief commissioner pointed out.

"The real terrorists are those who question the finality of prophethood," the MML lawyer replied.

In September, the interior ministry had asked the ECP to ban the MML, claiming that the party is backed by Hafiz Saeed, who carries a $10 million US bounty on his head for his alleged involvement in the 2008 terrorist attacks in India.

The move was seen as a bid to prevent extremists from entering mainstream politics ahead of next year’s elections.

At the time, the ECP spokesperson had said that the ministry had informed the commission that the MML was linked to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group, which was formed by Hafiz Saeed.

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