ISLAMABAD - While the interior ministry has objected to the registration of Milli Muslim League (MML) for being a political face of banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), it has maintained a mysterious silence about Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) – a party raised from the ashes of the self-confessed killer of the former Punjab governor.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has questioned the registration application of the MML for being an extension of Hafiz Saeed’s JuD – which is facing UN and government’s sanctions for suspected militant activities, but it silently registered the TLP as a political party in July this year without questioning its credentials.

The TLP is in the limelight since last year as it glorifies Mumtaz Qadri, the murder of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. The self-confessed convict was hanged after being condemned to death by a trial court and upholding of the sentence by the higher courts.

Allama Khadim Husain Rizvi heads the TLP as well as the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLR), a religious pressure group whose political ambitions have given birth to the TLP. Rizvi is known for his strong views against the state for hanging Qadri and suspected blasphemers.

The TLR was founded on March 1, 2016 — only a day after the hanging of Qadri when a large number of his supporters and sympathisers gathered in Rawalpindi’s famous Liaquat Bagh to attend his funeral, according to TLP secretary-general Waheed Noor.

He said that the TLP is the political wing of the TLR and it was registered on July 26 this year by the Election Commission. “We had applied around three to four months before the registration,” he added.

The TLP, which claims to represent an otherwise peaceful and moderate Barelvi-Sunni school of thought, calls for enforcement of Sharia [as per their understanding of it] and the execution of all blasphemers – including Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Noor said that the protection of the ideology of Pakistan and the enforcement of Nizam-e-Mustafa [the Sharia law] are pivotal parts of the party’s manifesto.

Rizvi, the political and spiritual head of the hardline group, openly calls for hanging the blasphemers and bring to book those who hanged Qadri.

Interestingly, the ECP had already registered the TLP a few days ago when MML on August 9 moved an application with the elect ion commission for its registration as a political party.

Both the MML and the TLP took part in Lahore’s NA-120 by-election on September 17 — the former was awaiting its registration at that time while the latter had got registered with the ECP.

Upon receiving application for MML’s registration, the ECP had sought comments from the interior ministry – which kept silent at the time and replied only days after the by-election in which MML candidate secured 5,822 votes.

The ministry has opposed the MML registration, quoting a security agency report that “there is evidence to substantiate that Lashkar-e-Tayaba (LeT), the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) are affiliates and ideologically of the same hue and the registration of the MML is not supported”.

However, in case of the TLP neither the election commission sought interior ministry’s comments nor the ministry itself took up the matter – as it must have done for its being a watchdog and a regulator in matters of peace and security on the home front.

An official of the interior ministry said that the ECP never questioned or asked about the TLP credentials.

The party’s candidate bagged 7,130 votes in the by-polls, finishing third in the race and getting attention of the national media for the feet.

According to the website of the Election Commission, the name of the TLP is at serial number 318 of Political Parties List with Khadim Hussain Rizvi as its ameer [chief].

ECP spokesperson Haroon Khan said that the commission registers political parties in the light of the check-list compiled under the Political Parties Order 2002.

“We don’t seek comments from the interior ministry about every party at the time of registration and the specific applications are referred to the ministry for clearance,” he said.

Haroon said that the application of a party is referred to the interior ministry under Article 17(2) of the Constitution, if the commission has suspicions that the party is an affiliate of some banned organisation.

The spokesperson said the TLP application was treated as a normal case.

About the participation of the MML in NA-120 election, he said that Sheikh Yaqoob contested as independent candidate and not on the platform of the MML as it had yet to be registered with the commission.

“The commission had written to the returning officer that Yaqoob should be strictly barred from using the flag or name of the MML,” he said.

The TLP is in the limelight since last year as it glorifies Mumtaz Qadri, the murder of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. The self-confessed convict was hanged after being condemned to death by a trial court and upholding of the sentence by the higher courts.

Allama Khadim Husain Rizvi heads the TLP as well as the Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLR), a religious pressure group whose political ambitions have given birth to the TLP. Rizvi is known for his strong views against the state for hanging Qadri and suspected blasphemers.

The TLR was founded on March 1, 2016 — only a day after the hanging of Qadri when a large number of his supporters and sympathisers gathered in Rawalpindi’s famous Liaquat Bagh to attend his funeral, according to TLP secretary-general Waheed Noor.

He said that the TLP is the political wing of the TLR and it was registered on July 26 this year by the Election Commission. “We had applied around three to four months before the registration,” he added.

The TLP, which claims to represent an otherwise peaceful and moderate Barelvi-Sunni school of thought, calls for enforcement of Sharia [as per their understanding of it] and the execution of all blasphemers – including Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Noor said that the protection of the ideology of Pakistan and the enforcement of Nizam-e-Mustafa [the Sharia law] are pivotal parts of the party’s manifesto.

Rizvi, the political and spiritual head of the hardline group, openly calls for hanging the blasphemers and bring to book those who hanged Qadri.

Interestingly, the ECP had already registered the TLP a few days ago when MML on August 9 moved an application with the elect ion commission for its registration as a political party.

Both the MML and the TLP took part in Lahore’s NA-120 by-election on September 17 — the former was awaiting its registration at that time while the latter had got registered with the ECP.

Upon receiving application for MML’s registration, the ECP had sought comments from the interior ministry – which kept silent at the time and replied only days after the by-election in which MML candidate secured 5,822 votes.

The ministry has opposed the MML registration, quoting a security agency report that “there is evidence to substantiate that Lashkar-e-Tayaba (LeT), the JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) are affiliates and ideologically of the same hue and the registration of the MML is not supported”.

However, in case of the TLP neither the election commission sought interior ministry’s comments nor the ministry itself took up the matter – as it must have done for its being a watchdog and a regulator in matters of peace and security on the home front.

An official of the interior ministry said that the ECP never questioned or asked about the TLP credentials.

The party’s candidate bagged 7,130 votes in the by-polls, finishing third in the race and getting attention of the national media for the feet.

According to the website of the Election Commission, the name of the TLP is at serial number 318 of Political Parties List with Khadim Hussain Rizvi as its ameer [chief].

ECP spokesperson Haroon Khan said that the commission registers political parties in the light of the check-list compiled under the Political Parties Order 2002.

“We don’t seek comments from the interior ministry about every party at the time of registration and the specific applications are referred to the ministry for clearance,” he said.

Haroon said that the application of a party is referred to the interior ministry under Article 17(2) of the Constitution, if the commission has suspicions that the party is an affiliate of some banned organisation.

The spokesperson said the TLP application was treated as a normal case.

About the participation of the MML in NA-120 election, he said that Sheikh Yaqoob contested as independent candidate and not on the platform of the MML as it had yet to be registered with the commission.

“The commission had written to the returning officer that Yaqoob should be strictly barred from using the flag or name of the MML,” he said.