In another tale of parties manipulating the kinks in the electoral technicalities, the proscribed and repeatedly rejected Milli Muslim League (MML) has covertly entered into an alliance with little known -but ultimately registered- Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek (AAT) party to contest the forthcoming elections. With around 300 candidates poised to contest under the umbrella of AAT, the party chair Mian Ihsan Bari denies an electoral alliance with the party, declaring that candidates from the proscribed party are ‘supporting the candidates’. The technical kink that is being manipulated here is that the party itself, under the veil of its own ticket-awarding criteria has awarded AAT tickets to the members of MML, claiming that they fit the bill. What is obvious is that the AAT has become the new front of the proscribed party, and is set to propagate MMLs agenda.

The prohibited party has been known to follow the controversial ideology of Hafiz Saeed, leader of proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF). The US State Department included the MML in its list of Foreign Terrorist Organisations (FTO), maintaining that it is a front for banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), bringing Pakistan under the inspection of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The ECP has repeatedly denied registration to the party, and the party has repeatedly sought other recourses to propagate its agenda.

Where the MML had fielded its candidate as an independent in the by-election at NA-120, despite not being registered with the ECP, it amassed a sizeable number of votes through sheer blatant publicity. It should be similarly anticipated that the covert party will avidly canvass for its members, and the ECP would be too overwhelmed with the electoral process itself to offset the activities of the group.

Where the MML had previously shown its intent to contest under AAT, it should have befitted the ECP to take immediate action against the registered party. While such a move subverts the electoral process, it also undermines the authority of the ECP and the Interior Ministry by a group that has repeatedly been flagged as an instigator of terrorist activity at home and abroad. With Pakistan under avid scrutiny on FATFs grey-list, such proscribed organisations should be rooted out in their entirety. It is up to the ECP and the caretaker government to delineate the covert alliance and delist AAT on the same grounds it had rejected the application of MML.