Islamabad, July 26: Extremist and banned groups, including Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, failed to garner people’s support in the country’s general elections and performed miserably despite having carried out massive electoral campaigns.
Hundreds of individuals linked with hardline and banned groups were competing in the polls but so far, according to the unofficial results, none of them was seen as winning a seat in the national or provincial assemblies.
Only few could garner a respectable number of votes including Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Ludhianvi whose name was removed from a banned list called Fourth Schedule ahead of election and allowed to contest, inviting international backlash.
Geo TV reported that hat Ludhianvi received more than 45,000 votes but was nowhere close to the victory.
Before the elections, concerns were raised in the country over the participation of hardline Islamist groups in large numbers.
Mili Muslim League, linked with Saeed fielded, dozens of candidates from the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek as it was denied recognition by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Saeed himself led the campaign by addressing several rallies but his candidates were not seen anywhere near victory.
Hafiz Talha Saeed, the son of Saeed, contested from NA-91 seat from 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.
Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), a Sunni sectarian group, fielded more than 100 candidates but none of them came closer to victory, according to unofficial results so far.
Mutahida Majlis-e-Aml (MMA), the biggest religious alliance of several leading parties, was leading on only eight seats of national assembly despite massive campaign by its leader which included influential Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
As per latest reports, Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is inching closer to becoming the single largest party by leading on 119 seats in an early count of votes.
The 65-year-old former cricketer’s PTI was ahead in 119 of 272 contested National Assembly constituencies, while its main rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was way behind with 65 seats.
The Pakistan People’s Party was leading on 44 seats while others were ahead in 17 seats.
(With PTI inputs)