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Siraj re-elected to JI top office

Updated March 22, 2019

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Senator Sirajul Haq is the fifth man to occupy the august post. — AFP/File
Senator Sirajul Haq is the fifth man to occupy the august post. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Senator Sirajul Haq, the current emir of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan has been re-elected to the top office of the party for another five-year term, JI deputy chief and head of its election wing Asadullah Bhutto told a press conference here on Thursday.

Flanked by three other members of the election commission at the party’s headquarters — Mansoorah — Mr Bhutto announced the poll results, but without divulging into details like the total voters’ turnout and number of votes bagged by the winner and two other contestants for the office.

When pressed by the media to share details of the process, Bhutto said sharing such data was against the party’s tradition. “Since it is not election in traditional context, there is no campaign or canvassing. It is an internal process. No one has ever objected to it. The elections are held according to party constitution and results announced as per its tradition”.

He, however, told the journalists that there were 39,124 – 34,264 male and 4,858 female – voters (arkan, or eligible voters) all over the country. All of them were sent ballot papers and they returned (after marking their choice) the same to their district headquarters. These ballots were, in turn, sent to the provincial heads and finally landed at the party’s headquarters at Mansoorah – resulting in win of Senator Haq.

The JI chief election commissioner, however, agreed to a questioner that the female voters were far outnumbered by the male members and hoped that some balance would be restored by the next elections. “This issue is on party radar and things would hopefully start improving now,” he hoped.

Mr Haq is the fifth man to occupy the august post, following Maulana Abul A’la Maududi (1941-72), Mian Tufail Muhammad (1972-87), Qazi Hussain Ahmed (1987-2008) and Munawer Hassan (2008-2013).

The party tone during the second term of new emir was set on Wednesday when the acting emir and general-secretary Liaqat Baloch informed the leadership of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) – the religious party’s alliance of which JI was a part – that the Jamaat would contest the next general elections in the country from its own platform and on its own election symbol. The decision was communicated to the MMA leadership at a meeting of the religious alliance on Wednesday.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2019