Islamabad, October 11: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday declined to register terrorist Hafiz Saeed-backed Milli Muslim League (MML) as a political party. The commission rejected its application citing objection of Ministry of  Interior Affairs. Hafiz Saeed carries $10 million US bounty on his head for his alleged involvement in the 2008 terrorist attacks in India.

The ministry, in a letter to the commission, said the political outfit had ties with banned organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan. The letter had stated, “The MML is linked with LeT, the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation and ideologically is of the same hue.”

It added, ” given the clamour, philosophy, outreach and modus operandi to operate, it is difficult to believe that MML will tread its own path completely at variance with its mother organization. Therefore, they have recommended that since the registration of such groups would breed violence and extremism in politics, as such registration of such groups be avoided.”

A panel headed by chief election commissioner Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan pointed out, “The interior ministry’s letter mentions that the MML is backed by banned terrorist outfits.” Khan added the party should get its name cleared by Interior Ministry.

However, the charges were rejected by League’s counsel. He said, “Under which law the party should consult the interior ministry when it had fulfilled the set criteria of the ECP for any political party’s registration.”

Pakistan will be witnessing general elections next year and many banned organisations are bidding to enter the political scenario.

Saeed, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief, has been under house arrest since January 31 this year. The Punjab Home Department on September 26 issued an order extending the house arrest of Saeed and his four aides – Abdullah Ubaid, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Abdul Rehman Abid and Qazi Kashif Hussain – for another 30 days with effect from September 25. The previous order to extend his house arrest was issued on July 28.