Hafiz Saeed's Milli Muslim League to launch manifesto on 23 March, days after court clears way for its registration

Lahore: Milli Muslim League (MML), JuD chief and 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed's new political party, on Tuesday said it will launch its manifesto on 23 March, following a Pakistani court's decision upholding its registration as a political party ahead of polls in 2018.

Saeed, who has kept a low profile after the government has apparently taken over all the movable and immovable assets of his Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and frozen their bank accounts in the country, is likely to unveil the manifesto of his party.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) last week set aside the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to reject the application of the MML for registration as a political party.

File image of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed. Reuters

File image of JuD chief Hafiz Saeed. Reuters

The ECP will decide the fate of the MML after hearing it in the coming days.

Earlier, the ECP had rejected MML's application to register it (as a political party) on the interior ministry's recommendation saying the "MML has links with banned militant outfits".

In a statement issued on Tuesday, MML president Saifullah Khalid said after the court's decision there is no "legal hurdle" left in the way of its registration as a political party.

"Now we will launch MML manifesto on 23 March on its first founding day," he said.

Referring to the court verdict, Khalid termed it a victory of the "Pakistan ideology", saying the court has ordered that the MML be given a chance to play its role in national politics.

About the forthcoming general election, the MML president said it has decided to field its candidates for all national and provincial Assembly seats in the polls.

"The MML will select those candidates who can not only afford electioneering expenses but also enjoy personal vote bank in the constituencies," he said and added such candidates must believe in "supporting the Kashmiris' freedom struggle".

Despite the Pakistani government's claims of having taken over all assets of the JuD and FIF and frozen their bank accounts in the country, Saeed and other leaders and activists of these banned organisations are still freely using its headquarters and offices.

The government had initiated action against Saeed's organisations in pursuance of an ordinance issued by the president Mamnoon Hussain in February amending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997, and allowing the state to proscribe UN Security Council-listed organisations, some of which had been exempt from prosecution.

The move had also come in the backdrop of a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental money-laundering watchdog, that put Pakistan on its 'grey' list due to the country's failure to control financing of terror groups.

At the FATF meeting in Paris in February, Saeed and his "charities" were top on the list of the groups that the FATF wanted Pakistan to act against.

The US Department of the Treasury has designated Saeed as a global terrorist.

Saeed, who is accused of having masterminded the November 2008 Mumbai attack, was also placed on the terrorism black list by the UN in December 2008.

The banned JuD head was released from house arrest in November, 2017 after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He had been under house arrest since January, 2017.

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Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 17:49:26 IST

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