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ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday sought time to explain its position on the registration of Milli Muslim League (MML) as a political party with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Seen by many as the political arm of Jamatud Dawa (JuD), the MML has challenged in the IHC the rejection of its application by the ECP.

A bench, comprising Justice Aamer Farooq, heard the petition filed through Raja Rizwan Abbasi Advocate challenging the ECP’s order of October 11 that declined the registration of MML as a political party on the alleged interference of the Ministry of Interior.

On Monday, the counsel requested the court to issue direction to the ECP for the registration of the MML as the party wanted to take part in the upcoming elections.

He said the next general elections could be held soon and the MML wanted to start a membership drive and other political activities.

However, Deputy Attorney General Raja Khalid Mehmood contended that the next general elections would be held after the expiry of the terms of the assemblies. He said the National Assembly would complete its term in June 2018 after which a caretaker government would conduct elections in three months.

The petition stated that non-registration of the MML was a violation of administrative fairness, constitutional and statutory obligations and fundamental rights. It said the ECP order was also a violation of Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002.

Time and again the MML has clarified that none of its members belong to any proscribed or banned organisation. “All office-bearers of the party are educated and there exist not even a fictitious FIR against them.”

The petition contended that there are almost 352 political parties registered with the ECP that neither fulfilled the criteria for a political party.

The counsel argued that on the recommendation of the interior ministry the ECP had rejected the application for MML’s registration. It requested the court to stop the ministry from interfering in the domain of the ECP.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017