Pakistan’s banned militant outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which recently launched a political party, today fielded a candidate against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom for the seat which fell vacant after the former premier’s disqualification. Headed by Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafeez Saeed, Jamaat-ud- Dawa (JuD) announced the formation of ‘Milli Muslim League’ (MML) in Islamabad on August 7 following weeks of campaign in Punjab’s provincial capital Lahore. Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMN-L) party members Asif Kirmani and Captain Safdar filed the nomination papers of Kulsoom, who is in her late 60s, for the upcoming by-poll for the NA-120 seat at the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Lahore office on Friday.
The National Assembly seat fell vacant after 67-year-old Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28. “We will protect the people’s especially women rights. Khidmat (service) committees will be set up at union council level to ensure serving the people at the grass roots,” said MML President Saifullah Khalid at a large rally ‘Istehkaam Pakistan Conference’ held on the Mall Road here.
Khalid said his party would provide an “honest” leadership to the country and also announced launching of a movement to revive Pakistan’s ideology. “We will defend Pakistan’s ideology at any cost. We will also defend the constitution of 1973. The MML will promote unity in the country,” he said, adding that supporting Kashmir’s freedom struggle “is part of our faith”. “We will defend Pakistan’s ideology. Our rulers are incapable to rule,” said Qari Yaqoub Sheikh, MML’s candidate for the vacated seat.
As the MML is yet to be registered with the ECP, Sheikh has filed his nomination papers as an independent candidate. Sheikh said the process of the MML registration as a political party was under way before the ECP.
Former federal information minister Muhammad Ali Durrani said at the rally that the “MML is the party that wil guard Pakistan’s ideology”. He said the MML would eliminate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s friends from Pakistan.
Head Political Affair and acting chief of JuD Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki said Politics of MML was “based on unity, and on texts of Quaid and thoughts of Iqbal”. The JuD is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 deadly attacks in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed by 10 terrorists who came from Pakistan.