ISLAMABAD: The Milli Muslim League (MML), seen by many as the political arm of the Jamatud Dawa (JuD) filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking its registration as political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Through its counsel Raja Rizwan Abbasi, MML challenged the ECP’s order dated Oct 11 in which it declined the registration of MML as a political party, which according to the petitioner was on the behest of the interior ministry.

MML has cited the ECP and interior secretary of as respondents. IHC Justice Aamer Farooq will hear the case on Wednesday.

The petitioner has said the non-registration of the MML is a violation of administrative fairness, constitutional and statutory obligations and fundamental rights and that it is also mala fide.

According to the petitioner, the ECP order is also a violation of the Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002 and that time and again, it has clarified that none of its members belong to proscribed or banned organisations. It says all office bearers of MML are educated and do not even have a fictitious FIR against them.

In the by-election in NA-120, the petitioner had supported an independent candidate, Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh, whose banner had a picture of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed on one side and one of the Quaid-i-Azam on the other.

The petition says 352 political parties are registered with the ECP which do not fulfil the criteria for a political party nor is there democracy in these parties.

Highlighting the aims and objectives behind the formation of the MML, the petition says: “Some intellectual, educated, democrats and patriots and people [who] want to make Pakistan into the real sense of the word, the Pakistan as conceived and visualized by the founders of Pakistan, from all over the country met at Lahore and decided to form a real political party, represent all the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of race, region, tribe, language, religion, and sect to promote harmony and to make the Pakistan an independent Islamic welfare state as was visualized by the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. That as a result of such brain storming and commitment, a political party namely Milli Muslim League (MML) formed in accordance with Article 17(2) of the Constitution read with Article 3 of PPO 2002”.

The petition says that in compliance of PPO’s Article 4, MML prepared a constitution for the party and submitted it to the ECP along with a list of office bearers and a certificate on Aug 7, 2017. However, the ECP declined to enlist the MML as a political party with the plea that the interior ministry has asked the commission to avoid the registration of the MML, the petition says, and that the petitioner was shocked to learn that. A copy of the letter is also provided.

Under the law, Ministry of Interior has no role in registration of a political party. Under Article 17(2) it is a fundamental right of the citizens to either form a political party or become its members.

The petitioner requested the court to set aside the ECP order and to direct it to complete the formalities for the allocation of an election symbol. It asked that the interior ministry be directed to not interfere in the registration process.

Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017