Milli Muslim League (MML), the political outfit floated by Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed, is likely to be proscribed by the United States as a terrorist organisation. Official sources familiar with the development said that such an announcement, if made, will come on the backdrop of India’s request that it made at the first India-US conference held in the national capital in mid-December. The other three organisations led by Saeed—Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Jamat-ud-Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation—have already been blacklisted by the US government.
Sources added that renewed pressure was being put on Pakistan by the US government to take tough, decapitating action against Saeed, who, till now, has refused to bow to the civilian government in Pakistan after he was released from house arrest in December 2017.
After coming out from his one-year long “detention”, during which he was allowed to meet people from his organisations, Saeed announced that he and his party were going to contest this year’s general election. Even in the absence of official permission from the government, he opened his party’s first office in Lahore. This has led to a “scare” among a section of the political class of Pakistan.
The party has already started its campaigning and as per information shared by intelligence agencies, it has also shortlisted candidates for the election. Sources in Pakistan said that the JuD is also working on the idea of “supporting” other political parties and independent candidates in case they are not allowed to contest the elections. But the JuD will support only those parties who promise to take up the “Kashmir cause” strongly.
“Saeed is portraying himself as someone who is being victimised for taking up the ‘Kashmir cause’ and he knows that the more he drives home this image, the more political benefits he will get. His single point agenda is Kashmir and it will not be surprising if he manages to win a good number of seats in the election, if he contests,” an official source said.
In the Lahore by-election held in 2017, the candidate of Milli Muslim League, though he lost, received more votes than both the Pakistan People’s Party and Jamaat-i-Islami combined. This, according to officials, has come as a rude shock for the mainstream political parties who are now concerned that the entry of radical elements in the political system will weaken them politically.
“The entry of jihadi elements into politics is not good for either them or for us. Coming under pressure from the rhetoric of Saeed and his kind, political leaders of Pakistan too will be forced to become more belligerent on the Kashmir issue and embark on a course of action that might jeopardise diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan even more,” said the official in the security establishment, quoted earlier.