Pakistan General Elections 2018: Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, as well as other terrorist and banned groups, have failed to make an impact in the just concluded Pakistan polls. These groups had organised massive campaigns in the run up to the polls. According to the unofficial results, no one among the hundreds of individuals linked with the hardline and banned groups was seen emerging as a winner at any of the seats in the national or provincial assemblies.
Hafiz Talha Saeed, the Mumbai attack mastermind’s son, contested from NA-91 seat in Sargodha (about 200-km from Lahore), the home town of the Jamaat-ud Dawa leader. Saeed’s son-in-law, Khalid Waleed, was a candidate in PP-167.
Saeed-linked Mili Muslim League had fielded dozens of candidates from the lesser known Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek platform after it was denied recognition by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Saeed had himself led the campaign by addressing several rallies but his candidates were not seen anywhere close to victory.
Among other extremist groups, a few did manage to garner a respectable number of votes including Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi. Despite international backlash, Ludhiyanvi’s name was removed from a banned list called Fourth Schedule ahead of the General elections and allowed to contest. According to Geo TV, Ludhianvi managed to get over 45,000 votes. However, he too was far from a win.
Similarly, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a Sunni sectarian group, had fielded over 100 candidates but none of them came close to victory. Mutahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA) was the biggest religious alliance of several leading parties. It was leading on only eight seats of National Assembly despite massive campaign by its leader which included influential Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Allowing Saeed, who is a recognised international terrorist, to openly campaign for his candidates was seen as as act of mainstreaming terrorism by the Pakistani establishment. The poll results so far show the establishment losing on its plan.
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan looks set to become the new prime minister of Pakistan after a general election marred by long delays in ballot counting and accusations of rigging by opponents.