LAHORE / KARACHI: After earning a humbling defeat for himself and his party in elections Jamaat-i-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq stepped down as the head of the party on Monday.

“Accepting responsibility for the defeat in the elections, I resign from the leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami,” he wrote on X.

Mr Haq, whose second term as the JI chief was set to expire on March 31, ended his decade-long run at the helm of the party after an absolute rout in the polls. The Jamaat had fielded 243 candidates for the National Assembly and failed to win even one seat. It had given 531 provincial tickets and only managed to secure six — three in KP, two in Sindh and one in Balochistan.

“Despite my best and tireless efforts, the party has not been able to achieve desired results. Workers put in best efforts. God may reward them for those efforts. I accept the responsibility of the defeat and hereby resign as party head,” his resignation letter reads.

The Jamaat Shura, a 100-member governing body that can accept or reject his resignation, is set to meet on February 17, when it will take a decision on Mr Haq’s resignation, said party information secretary Qaiser Sharif Mr Haq had replaced Syed Munawar Hassan as head of the party, and veteran JI leader Liaquat Baloch is being tipped as his potential successor.

Hafiz Naeem’s ‘disgust’

Meanwhile, in Karachi, the Jamaat “forfeited” one of its two Sindh Assembly seats, on the pretext that it was actually won by the PTI-backed independent candidate, but Hafiz Naeemur Rehman was declared the winner only to defuse the pressure of their resistance and protest.

The party said it didn’t need “charity” and would keep resisting and exercising every legal right to win back its mandate in Karachi, where it claimed MQM-P was “imposed” through “manipulated and rigged results”.

“We don’t want a single vote which is not ours and we won’t give up a single one which was ours,” Hafiz Naeem told a press conference at the party’s Karachi headquarters.

“In PS-129, we came to know that after a total count of the votes as per the Form 45 of all the polling stations, I bagged 30,464 votes, while the votes of the independent candidate of PTI were higher than mine. But look at the tragedy that the MQM candidate, who wasn’t even in the race and received only 6,010 votes, was declared winner.”

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2024

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