The Milli Muslim League (MML) — a political face of Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaatud Dawa — after repeatedly failing to get itself registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan, has announced to contest the upcoming general election from the platform of Allahu Akbar Tehreek (AAT).
MML spokesperson Tabish Qayyum, while speaking to DawnNewsTV, attested to the fact that after the ECP again dismissed its application on Wednesday, their party's candidates decided to contest the election using the Allahu Akbar Tehreek platform.
Responding to a query regarding the number of candidates from MML standing for election, the spokesperson revealed that around 200 hopefuls will be contesting from across the country.
It is pertinent to mention that the AAT is a political party registered with the ECP, whose leader is Mian Ahsan Bari and which has been allotted the symbol of 'chair' for the 2018 election.
The party was registered a decade ago and contested the 2013 election with the symbol of cow.
Qayyum said that the contestants are facing a lot of difficulties following the ECP's refusal to register their party.
"Our candidates are under a lot of pressure following the commission's decision," he said, adding that the party had hope till the very end that its registration would be approved.
When asked about the possibility of an alliance with other parties, the spokesperson said that the party is in talks with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), and others as well.
To a question regarding whether the party wishes to form an alliance with the Nawaz league, Qayyum categorically denied the prospect, iterating that an alliance was neither possible nor on the cards for MML, because the PML-N government had been opposing the MML's registration with the ECP.
The MML has been a recipient of the support of Jamaatud Dawa (JuD)'s Hafiz Saeed, who has been accused of alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and on whose head a bounty of $10 million has been placed.
In April 2018, the US Department of State amended its designation of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), identifying Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-i-Azadi-i-Kashmir (TAK) as LeT affiliates, which makes it impossible for them to register as political parties.
MML's registration as a political party
On August 8, 2017, the banned Jamaatud Dawa announced its entry into the political mainstream with the Milli Muslim League, declaring Saifullah Khalid as the new party's first president.
On October 11, 2017, the ECP rejected an application for registration filed by the MML, a decision taken following the interior ministry's response filed with the ECP recommending the party to be banned.
It is pertinent to mention here that the ECP had declined the MML's application for registration due to its association with the banned Jamaatud Dawa and the decision was appealed by the party in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
On March 8, 2018, the IHC declared the ECP's decision to not register the MML as a party, void, directing the commission to scrutinise the party afresh.
Later, on June 13, 2018, the ECP again rejected the MML's application for registration.
The MML, in response, declared the interior ministry's report against the party submitted to the ECP as "a bunch of lies" and expressed regret over the fact that despite the IHC's verdict and their directives, the party had not been allowed registration.
In its statement, the party also said that government was committing an offence in violation of the law and Constitution in order to please their "foreign masters".