LAHORE - The Jamaatud Dawa leadership has decided to enter politics and form a party with the name of Milli Muslim League (MML), a JuD leader said on Sunday.

MML will be registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan in next couple of days and its official announcement will likely to be made on Friday. The proposed party will hold its first mass meeting in Islamabad on August 14 – Pakistan’s Independence Day - to show its strength.

“The Milli Muslim League will act as separate entity from that of Jamaatud Dawa and take part in general and local bodies’ polls whenever they will be held in Pakistan,” the JuD leader said and requested not to quote his name.

JuD enjoys following of thousands of people in different parts of the country although it is banned as terrorist group in Pakistan since 2015. Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed had been placed under house arrest on January 31 for 90 days. Subsequently, his house arrest was extended for another three months.

On July 27, it further extended for 60 days through a Punjab government’s notification. Dawa has recently started activities under the banner of Tehreek-e-Azadi Jammu & Kashmir but a month back, the group was also put in the list of prescribed organisations by the ministry of interior.

The MML has finalised its manifesto, flag colour, and it will establish its head office in the federal capital.

Althgough the JuD mostly relies on the support by followers of Ehlehadith school of thought, the MML will be an open forum and every Pakistani could be the member of the party, according to the leader who shared details about the new party with The Nation.

“We are forming a minority wing within the Milli Muslim League. Minorities will also get representation in our party flag.”

The JuD’s charity organisation, Falah-e-Insanyat Foundation (FIF) has long been working history in different parts of the country especially in Hindu majority areas of Tharparkar, South Punjab and northern areas where it claims enjoying reputation among believers of every faith.

The party leadership believes it can get major support from the areas besides in Punjab’s districts of Kasur, Gujranwala and Sheikupura. It is likely the head of FIF, Hafiz Abdur Rauf, will act as president of the MML.

“MML will seek guidance from Hafiz Saeed and other Dawa bigwigs but people would also see new face in the party.”

Pakistan’s Ehle Hadiths/Wahabis form almost five to 10 per cent of country’s population. There is difference of opinion that their numbers are equal to Shia community. Ehle Hadith is one of the four major schools of thought in Islam.

Markzi Jamiat Ehlehadth led by Professor Sajid Mir, an ally of ruling PML-N, and a recently established group of three Ehle Hadith organisations, the Ehle Hadith Ittehad Council which is led by Hafiz Abdul Ghafar Ropri and Hafiz Ibtisam Elahi Zaher, are the main parties represent this school. The others schools are Brelvi, Deobandi and Shia.

There are dozens of religious organisations representing these schools in Pakistan. However, they could not win the popular support of the masses in any election due to their internal differences except from once when they had formed the Muthidda Majlis-e-Amal in General (r) Parvez Musharraf regime by brining all religious clerics and leaders of all schools at one platform. The MMA had then won the election in KP and formed the provincial government.

It is likely the MML will keep itself aside from the popular religious politics instead it will act as centre-right party.

The JuD leader said the MML would field its candidates in upcoming general election in some constituencies and could also announce support of any other political party across the country since it has its followers in every constituency.

“We will fully focus on next local bodies election,” he said, adding the full entry in the general election was not possible for them because of lack of preparation.

It is important to mention that the majority of Ehlehadth clerics have always opposed the “popular western democracy” and termed it against Islam. They instead support the concept of Caliphate.

The consultation has been on for the formation of political party within the JuD for almost a year, the leader said, adding that MML will do politics according to the teachings of Islam. –IFTIKHAR ALAM