Entering mainstream politics: JuD launches political party

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(City News) – A Pakistan-based charity, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, that has been accused of being a front for anti-India militant group has entered mainstream Pakistani politics by the launch of a new political party – the Milli Muslim League.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) organisation that launched the party, has been designated by the UN as a “terrorist”, and the United States has had a $10m bounty on his head since 2012 for his alleged role as the leader of LeT armed group.

According to Al Jazeera, at the formal launch of the Milli Muslim League (MML) party in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Monday, party chief Saifullah Khalid was clear that he held Saeed in high regard, although the question of what role he would play in the party remained an unanswered one.

“What role he will play in the Milli Muslim League or in Pakistan s ongoing politics will be seen after Allah ensures his release,” said Akhtar, adding that the issue of Saeed s release was high on the MML s agenda.

Pakistani police have held Saeed under house arrest in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore since January under local anti-terrorism laws. His detention was extended for a further two months on August 1. The UN sanctions include the freezing of all assets, a ban on international travel, and an arms embargo.

The Pakistani government lists JuD as “under observation” on a list of banned “terrorist organisations”, rather than banning the group outright. LeT has been listed as a “terrorist organisation” by Pakistan since 2002.

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